By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane
Captive Eye member Percy Mothibe says poaching is among the greatest threats to the country’s burgeoning tourism sector.
Speaking at the Bonnington Open Air Museum on Saturday, Mothibe said the youth advocacy group had lined up an Anti-Poaching Africa Beauty pageant for November in order to raise awareness on the scourge.
Mothibe said Captive Eye was concerned about high poaching rates and illegal wildlife trading in the country. He noted that while tourism was a revenue spinner for communities in many remote areas, poaching was an ever-present threat. “Tourism generates many jobs which will not be present in future if the wildlife species that attract tourists disappear and if security issues due to poaching and illegal wildlife trade are prevalent,” he said.
“Illegal trading and trafficking of wildlife are growing at an alarming rate and have a damaging impact on the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.” For his part, the deputy commissioner of the Kenyan Embassy, Wilfred Musau said the East African nation was equally battling with poachers.
About eight percent of Kenya’s land mass is protected area for wildlife conservation. This comprises 23 terrestrial national parks, 28 terrestrial national reserves, four marine national parks, six marine national reserves and four national sanctuaries. “Wildlife is a very important natural resource to Kenya as it has great social economic value to its people. It is a critical pillar of the country’s tourism industry. Wildlife is one of the key sectors expected to deliver our Vision 2030, which is the country’s blueprint for social economic development,” Musau said.
He said in order to ensure that wildlife was adequately protected from poaching activities and preserved for posterity, the country had put in place various measures such as establishing a state corporation whose mandate is wildlife conservation and management. Kenya also has an inter-agency anti poaching unit.