By Christine Lagat
A high powered delegation of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) will visit China from April 21 to 30 to explore strategic partnership in diverse fields like wildlife protection, tourism and infrastructure development.
KWS Director-General William Kiprono told Xinhua in Nairobi on Monday that the trip will mark a significant milestone in Sino- Kenya cooperation to boost conservation of habitats.
"During our visit to China, we will meet our counterparts from the State Forestry Administration to discuss areas of common interests. They include environmental conservation and tourism," Kiprono said.
Kenya and China have forged a strategic collaboration to boost wildlife protection in the wake of human and environmental threat to this heritage.
Kiprono noted that both Kenya and China are among the eight countries mandated by the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) to strengthen wildlife protection.
"We have joint programs with China to promote wildlife protection against a backdrop of poaching that remains a global problem. This partnership has realized profound successes," Kiprono said.
He revealed that China and Kenya last year won an award from CITES for spearheading the fight against poaching of iconic mammals.
"Poaching in Kenya has declined courtesy of a robust partnership with China. We intend to strengthen cooperation in key areas like intelligence sharing and technology exchange to boost the war against poaching," said Kiprono.
During their visit to China, Kenyan wildlife officials will be keen on learning best practices on environmental protection from the Asian giant.
Kiprono noted that China is a global leader in technology and expertise to promote conservation of habitats.
The visit to China by Kenyan wildlife officials is part of a long-term engagement endorsed by leaders from both countries to strengthen the fight against wildlife crimes, climate change and habitat loss.
Kiprono noted that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have endorsed a collaborative partnership to promote environmental conservation.
"The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Kenya in May last year underscored bilateral cooperation in wildlife protection. We are also engaging Chinese celebrities to raise awareness against poaching," Kiprono said.
Kenyan officials will showcase the east African nation's natural treasures during their visit to China.
Kiprono said Kenya intends to lure Chinese tourists by showcasing unique products.
"There are iconic species in our parks that would entice Chinese tourists. We have enhanced security in our parks and will improve the infrastructure to attract more Chinese visitors," Kiprono said.
He added that a visit to China presents an opportunity for Kenyan officials to gain new insight on wildlife conservation.
"We are aware China has pioneered wildlife conservation programs that can be replicated locally. Our visit to China will focus on how we can leverage expertise and technology from Beijing to rejuvenate wildlife protection," Kiprono said.