Kenya's first lady Margaret Kenyatta has called on the international community to help conserve wildlife, warning that illegal trade in wildlife products is a threat to the pillar of national heritage.
Margaret said the international community should devise global strategies to address both the demand and supply sides in the illegal markets.
"Our efforts will fail if we do not eliminate the demand and illegal trade in wildlife products, which is why global strategies to address both the demand and supply sides of these illegal markets are necessary," she said on Monday night while hosted delegates from 193 countries attending the first UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi.
Margaret said there was need to step up measures to robustly protect and develop wildlife resources for prosperity and economic benefit of the communities.
"The fight against poaching is not easy. We have lost wildlife rangers and other law enforcement agents. We salute our fallen heroes, and our resolve does not waver," she said.
Margaret said wildlife crime harms the livelihoods and security as much as it destroys the national heritage, adding that efforts to conserve wildlife will only succeed if the demand of illegal trade in wildlife products is eliminated.
"In the fight against these illegal trades, there is a role for each one of us. The Hands off our Elephant' campaign, which I am privileged to be associated with, brings together experts -- conservationists, media practitioners, lawyers, politicians, strategists and others -- to join the fight for our elephants," she said.
KWS said some 20 rhinos have been lost, with 17 killed by poachers and three due to natural causes. Kenya lost a total of 59 rhinos in 2013.
Rampant poaching has seen more than 65 elephants being poached since January compared 302 elephants in the whole of 2013.
The First Lady urged stakeholders to take concrete measures to protect this treasured heritage, saying the war against poaching is a must win.
"All of us must commit, through concrete actions, to the protection of our wildlife. It is a fight we must win. We must plant that tree and nurture it to maturity," she said.
The First Lady commended the delegates for adopting the topic on illegal trade in game trophies as one of their theme to be discussed during the assembly, noting that the elevation of the topic to international level within the UN framework is both critical and long overdue.
"Four weeks ago, we lost Satao, our biggest and most-beloved bull elephant in the nation. Even as we mourn the death of Satao, we are painfully aware that this is no isolated incident," Margaret said.
The iconic Satao lived in Tsavo East National park and was one of Tsavo's most adored elephants, was famous as one of the last surviving great tuskers, bearers of genes that produce bull elephants with long tusks that touch the ground.