By Jeff Otieno
Kenya Wildlife Service director William Kiprono and his deputy Patrick Omondi, who are the custodians of the country’s wildlife, have lately been spending sleepless nights. Poaching, especially of elephants, has exploded in the parks and reserves and, as they try to deal with the menace, Kenya and neighbours Uganda and Tanzania have been put on the “Gang of Eight” list by conservationists.
This is the global list of countries at the heart of the unprecedented rise in the killing of African elephants and the illegal ivory trade.The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) has cited eight countries that it says are responsible for the increase in elephant deaths and the thriving illegal ivory trade.
The eight are the source countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, transit countries Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and destination countries Thailand and China.
“Wherever we go, people are asking us why East Africans are killing the beautiful animal. It is really embarrassing,” said Mr Omondi, who is in charge of wildlife conservation.
Concerned about the increased killing of African elephants, Cites has warned the eight countries to stop the trade or face sanctions. They have up to March 2014 to prove that they have taken the necessary measures.
The three East African countries are required to submit specific action plans on how they intend to tackle the problem of poaching and the illegal ivory trade.
The mandate of Cites, which brings together 178 countries, is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. For a long time now, Cites has been lobbying the eight countries to help curb the illegal ivory trade. More....