By James Ndoneh
Kenya Airways has joined hands with Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity, to boost the fight against poaching with donation of surveillance paraphernalia and funds for training to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Binoculars, tents and GPS trackers will be used to train rangers in the KWS Rhino Monitoring Team.
Additional Sh350,000 will be used to facilitate the training. “The fight against wildlife poaching requires concerted efforts from all of us. This is the reason Kenya Airways has chosen to get involved in supporting KWS to fight this vice through skills improvement and equipment,” said Kenya Airways’ Marketing Director Chris Diaz.
Lauding the initiative, Kenya Country Manager of Born Free Foundation, Tim Oloo said: “The fight against poaching requires resolute determination to protect the wildlife heritage for the future generations. This is facing extinction due to human greed, ignorance and superstition and we have a duty to protect the rhino.”
According to Julius Kimani, the deputy director of KWS, the equipment and training for rangers will greatly support the conservation of rhinos, which presently face a huge threat from poachers, who are after their horns. The initiative comes as Kenya still grapples with the poaching menace, which has been on the surge in the last four years.
According to statistics, Kenya lost 47 elephants and 5 rhinos to poaching in 2007 as compared to 384 and 30 in 2012, and 302 elephants and 59 rhinos in 2013 respectively. “Last year, we lost 59 rhinos to poachers; and 26 rhinos so far this year. This challenge is surmountable with this kind of support from Kenya Airways and the Born Free Foundation,” Mr Kimani noted.
KWS has been propagating for protection of the black rhinos with the organ projecting that the rhino population will increase by 5 per cent at the end of 2016 to reach 750.