Tag Archives: Hands Off Our Elephants

Kenya: ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ Campaigner Kahumbu Feted

CapitalFM
9 May 2014

London, United Kingdom — WildlifeDirect’s Paula Kahumbu has been awarded the prestigious international prize in honour of her work to inspire Kenyans to put an end to the country’s elephant poaching crisis.

While Shivani Bhalla, the founder of Ewaso Lions was recognized for her Warrior Watch campaign which has been working to improve coexistence between people and lions in northern Kenya.

Shivani founded Ewaso Lions in 2007 to promote co-existence between carnivores and the local mostly nomadic population.

She has also worked for the Kenya Wildlife Service and Save the Elephants where she promoted environmental education programs among schools and students in Samburu.

Each Award Winner receives a prize worth £35,000 to be spent over one year.

Kahumbu is Executive Director of WildlifeDirect which launched “Hands off Our Elephants” in 2013, a campaign to tackle poaching, and the trafficking of ivory, and with the ultimate ambition of closing down the international ivory trade.

Elephants make a major contribution to Kenya’s economy through tourism which accounting for about 12% of Kenya’s GDP and employs over 300,000 people.

More ivory is trafficked through Kenya than any other country in Africa and the Hands off Our Elephants campaign, with the support of its patron, Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Kenyatta, is informing and mobilising Kenyans to take action to beat this iniquitous trade.

Key to Paula’s approach is engaging directly with government authorities and prosecutors to adopt new legislation that ensures those found guilty of poaching and other wildlife crimes are brought to justice and receive much stricter sentences.

Sir David Attenborough, a Trustee of the Whitley Fund for Nature, said: “Whitley Award winners are successful because they don’t just watch and measure – they act!

Edward Whitley, Founder of The Whitley Fund for Nature, says: “We recognise that wildlife and habitat conservation in developing countries cannot be successful without the involvement of people at the grassroots level.

Every year, I am delighted to meet the winners of the Whitley Awards.

The Whitley Awards honoured six other conservationists from developing countries around the world.

Article at the following link:

Kenya: Wildlife Protection Can Bring Peace, Jobs

By Ambassador Robert F. Godec, The Star

3 March 2014

Protecting wildlife is a central challenge of our time. Far too many elephants, rhinos and other animals are dying at the hands of poachers. Just in the last year, poachers in Kenya alone killed hundreds of elephants for their ivory and at least 59 rhinos for their horns. Unless the carnage is stopped here and elsewhere, our children may be left with no more than photos of many magnificent species.

If we work together with creativity and determination, it doesn’t have to be this way. Last week in Nasuulu Community Conservancy, I saw first-hand one example of how hard work and commitment can protect wildlife while building peace and creating jobs. Communities can solve problems; I saw it happening in Nasuulu. After a day in Isiolo speaking with leaders and citizens, I was deeply impressed by what they had achieved. Thousands of people have better lives and new hope while many animals–including elephants, rhinos and the elegant Grevy’s zebra–are thriving. All as the result of local people coming together to make a difference.

The Nasuulu Community Conservancy is the newest of the 27 conservancies that form the Northern Rangelands Trust. The trust uses a community conservation model that brings together villages and groups historically at odds with one another in a democratic, multi-ethnic forum to manage their own resources. Everyone involved has a stake in the outcome of their conservation efforts. The model has been extraordinarily successful in a part of the country where a harsh environment and distance mean communities feel marginalized. Now local residents benefit from greater investment in the area and in turn feel less sidelined. When asked what this has brought to their communities, leaders answer, “peace, jobs and wildlife.”

Clearly community conservation is only one piece of the larger conservation effort in Kenya. The Kenya Wildlife Service and its dedicated employees are on the front line of safeguarding wildlife throughout the country, managing large tracts of protected land and fighting the scourge of poaching, occasionally at the tragic cost of their own lives. Their leadership is crucial to species protection in Kenya.

In addition to KWS, Kenya’s leaders and citizens are making important contributions. President Kenyatta signed the impressive Wildlife Conservation and Management Act in December. The new law stipulates serious punishments for poachers and allocates greater resources to the national parks and reserves. It will help Kenya end the terrible killing of elephants and rhinos. Civil society also plays a critical role in wildlife conservation in Kenya. NGOs, funded and staffed locally and internationally, contribute ideas, help with wildlife management and assist communities with conservation. Organizations such as Save the Elephants, which I also visited last week, are doing vitally important work. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is making a difference through her support for such powerful initiatives as the “Hands Off Our Elephants” campaign.

The international community has also stepped up to help. President Obama has made the protection of wildlife a priority and conservation is a top goal of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. The United States has long prohibited the import of ivory and we recently banned domestic commercial ivory sales. Last November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed six tons of ivory to demonstrate our commitment to end the ivory trade and draw attention to the seriousness of the elephant poaching problem.

Here in Nairobi, I meet frequently with government and KWS officials, with civil society and with other leaders in the wildlife conservation community. At the Embassy we created a task force to focus our assistance and ensure it has the greatest possible impact. Today, we provide support to community conservancies such as the Northern Rangelands Trust and training for both KWS and community conservancy rangers. These rangers risk their lives to protect Kenya’s wildlife and we want to ensure they are well-prepared and well-equipped for the task. Since 2004, the Embassy has spent Sh4.4 billion to help wildlife and communities in Kenya. And, last year, President Obama committed another Sh250 million to the effort. In the fight to protect wildlife, the United States is “all in.”

Of course, there remain tough challenges ahead. For example, we must find ways to reduce demand for ivory and rhino horn. Nevertheless, there is hope. During my visit to Nasuulu, I was impressed by the commitment of the community and how fully it understands the value of wildlife. The people of Nasuulu recognize how protecting animals can bring jobs, roads and schools where there were none before. They were grateful for the peace the conservancy has brought and value wildlife as part of their heritage. They are justly proud of what they are doing for themselves, and for the world.

Although it is not the answer for every problem, the community conservancy model is powerful. In making their community better and protecting our common heritage, the people of Nasuulu and the Northern Rangelands Trust have a lesson for all of us.

As a partner for 50 years, the United States is fully committed to working with Kenya on conservation. Together, by marshalling our resources and working creatively, I’m confident we can succeed and protect Kenya’s wonderful wildlife for future generations.

The author is the US envoy to Kenya.

Kenya: International March for Elephants Invades New York

BY JAMES MURUA, 17 OCTOBER 2013

The Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, led by Dr Paula Kahumbu, went to New York on October 4 for the International March for Elephants to raise global awareness on the illegal ivory trade and its dire impact on elephant populations. They also spoke on the impact of poaching on human rights issues, national security and global economy, and asked governments around the world to end it. The campaign has also been active in Kenya.

The walk to the United Nations office in New York saw some star power coming through to support the initiative and included supermodel Christie Brinkley and actress Kristin Davis (Sex and the City, Melrose Place). They were accompanied by director general of Vision 2030 Mugo Kibati and deputyd irector of the Kenyan Wildlife Service Patrick Omondi. Also in the walk was Iain Douglas-Hamilton, a zoologist known for his study of elephants.

This article is from the following link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201310170965.html

Wakhungu launches drive to save elephants

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Wakhungu launches drive to save elephants

Wakhungu launches drive to save elephants

Posted by: The People in National July 25, 2013

By OWINO SAMWEL

The Government has launched a campaign dubbed ‘Hands off Our Elephants’ to eradicate poaching in the country. Cabinet Secretary for Environment,Water and Natural Resources Judy Wakhungu said Government has designed plans to stop the menace which she termed as an economic crime. “We are determined to stop this evil that has affected our wildlife for a long time,” she said.

She said her ministry in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service is determined to preserve the country’s heritage. The plans include use of sniffer dogs and scanners at Mombasa port and Jomo Kenyatta Airport to identify hidden ivory. She said the new Wildlife Bill which recommends stiffer penalties for poachers will be presented to parliament.

“The Bill proposes harsh punishment for poachers, which if adopted by parliament, will reduce poaching,”she said. Statistics show 270 elephants were killed in 2011, 384 in 2012 and this trend has to stop so as to attract more tourists, she said. “Kenya has to redeem its international image by fighting poaching and we are ready to regain our lost glory.”

The campaign also includes Kenya Airways and Wildlife Direct companies that have expressed the need to save wildlife. Kenya Airways chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said they will support the initiative until the crime is checked. “Kenya Airways will not condone poaching and any staff found invloved in ivory smuggling will face the consequences,” Naikuni warned.

Speaking at the same event,WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu said ivory trafficking in Kenya doubles every six months but expressed optimism the campaign will stop the trend. Kenya Wildlife Service Director William Kiprono cited inadequate personnel as a major hindrance to fighting poaching but revealed they have received Sh2 million from the Government to buy equipment.

Kenya,Uganda and Tanzania are main sources of ivory while Philippine,Vietnam and Malaysia are main transit areas. China and Thailand have been identified as major ivory consumers. As the campaign is launched, former US defence attaché in Nairobi has been convicted of smuggling ivory, hours after President Obama pledged to stop wild- life trafficking. David McNevin was arrested with 21 pieces of ornately carved elephant tusks as he boarded a flight to the Netherlands, from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International airport.

This article’s link is: http://www.thepeople.co.ke/11964/wakhungu-launches-drive-to-save-elephants/