By Philip Mwakio
Mombasa, Kenya: Activists on an elephant and rhino conservation walk across Coast counties have hailed the recently passed Wildlife Conservation Act.
They described it as a boost for the protection of endangered species.
Jim Nyamu, a wildlife activist and scientist, said in Mombasa Wednesday the country is almost winning the war against poaching of precious wildlife species.
“The highly punitive measures in place, backed by strong security surveillance involving an expanded Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), General Service Unit (GSU) and the regular police will only be successful if the public also plays a part,’’ Nyamu, the executive director of Elephant Neighbours Centre said.
Nyamu made the remarks during the ongoing walk in aid of elephant conservation, which started in Kwale County on Sunday and is expected to traverse the entire coastal belt, passing through Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and ending in Lamu.
Participants in the walk, who had arrived from Kwale, made a brief stopover at the KWS headquarters at Nguva House, took a symbolic march through the streets of Mombasa for a photo session at the Historic Elephant Tusks on Moi Avenue, before proceeding with their walk.
KWS, Nakumatt Holdings, Elephant Neighbours Centre, Kenya Police Service, Mombasa County government, Inspectorate Department and Kenya Association of Tour Operators (Kato) are among the firms participating in the walk.
KWS Assistant Director Coast Conservation Area, Arthur Tuda said the walk is aimed at sensitising the public on the need to conserve wildlife for posterity.
Under the new law, offenders now face a fine of Sh20 million and a life sentence.
Speaking at the function, Terry Mtai, a representative of the Kenya Association of Women in Policing, which brings together women working in the police and prison services, said the world is dealing with an unprecedented rise in illegal wildlife trade, threatening to overturn decades of conservation and development gains.