Tag Archives: Nairobi

African, Japanese and international conservation NGO’s call on President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Abe to agree on measures to save the African elephant.

Nairobi, 26 August 2016: Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is a conference held regularly with the objective “to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.” Japan is a co-host of these conferences. Other co-organizers of TICAD are the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSSA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The next conference is scheduled for Kenya on August 27th and 28th 2016. It will be the first time the event will be held in Africa, previous conferences were all held in Japan.

 

TICAD has been an evolving element in Japan’s long-term commitment to fostering peace and stability in Africa through collaborative partnerships. In this context, Japan has stressed the importance of “Africa’s ownership” of its development as well as of the “partnership” between Africa and the international community. The exchange of views amongst the conference delegates serves to underscore the case for more, not less assistance from the major world economies. It is in this vein that Africa must seek Japan’s support in saving the African elephant which is undergoing an unprecedented slaughter due to demand for ivory. Japan continue to be a major consumer, and, therefore, has a special responsibility to act in the interest of Africa and elephants.

 

In part due to Kenya’s leadership position on the matter, most of Africa, Asia as well as the world’s developed nations agree that to save elephants, global ivory markets should be closed. Both the US President Obama and China’s President Xi have made commitments to close the domestic markets which will have a huge impact on demand. Now conservationists call on Japan to support China, USA and twenty-nine African countries by endorsing a plan to afford elephants the highest protection under international law.

 

The growing demand for ivory in Japan has come about due to thriving legal domestic ivory markets. Studies however show that these markets are used for the laundering of illegal ivory through loopholes in the regulations. Japanese conservation organizations estimate that in the three years between 2012, and 2014, at least 12 tons of whole tusks and pieces of ivory were sold on Yahoo Japan Auction site. These marketing and distribution channels have not been focused on by the law enforcement agencies.

 

In June 2014, the Government of Japan reported to CITES that there are 7,570 registered ivory dealers, 537 ivory wholesalers, and some 293 ivory manufacturers in Japan – the largest known numbers of any country in the world.[1]

 

Unlike China where ivory is bought for prestige, 80% of the ivory consumed in Japan is used for Hanko, the traditional Japanese seal used as the only form of official signature accepted by banks. But most people buy these products without knowing that they are contributing toward the elephant slaughter and illegal trade.

 

We urge Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the head of the Giants Club of African presidents supporting elephant conservation, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, to seize this unique opportunity at TICAD6 to discuss the issue as part of their duty towards the development agendas of Africa and Japan.

 

We also urge the H.E. the First Lady of Japan, Akie Abe, an ardent conservationist, to join H.E. the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta in raising awareness about elephants and their conservation needs.

 

Japan is one of Africa’s most important development partners. They have made major contributions and commitments to support conservation. Now the conservation community call for 5 actions to be agreed at TICAD:

  1. Japan to permanently close legal domestic markets of ivory, and aggressively close down online trading sites that deal in ivory, all to crush demand.
  2. Japan to suspend ivory registration immediately, to prevent loopholes that allow fraudulent registration and laundering of illegal ivory.
  3. Japan to support the Elephant Protection Initiative.
  4. Japan to strengthen cooperation on elephant conservation initiatives and combating the trafficking of ivory to Japan through joint investigations and mutual legal assistance.
  5. Japan’s Prime Minister and First Lady to jointly issue statements to discourage the selling and buying of ivory in Japan and to initiate an education and outreach campaign to Japanese citizens on the importance of saving elephants by stopping poaching and ending ivory trade.

 

Kenya is proud to be hosting the first TICAD conference in Africa and we look forward to positive outcomes of the discussions.

 

[1] (Japan, June 2014, pp. Government of Japan Report on trade control in ivory and ivoSC65, Doc 42.1 Addendum, Annex 2. )

 

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Police recover ivory worth Sh1.7m, arrest two men (Kenya)

CYRUS OMBATI, Standard Digital
May 11th 2014
Nairobi, Kenya: Police have arrested two men and recovered seven elephant tusks weighing 17 kilogrammes with a value of Sh1.7 million in Nairobi. The duo was driving in a Toyota Probox on Mbogani Road in Karen, when Special Crimes Prevention Unit officers intercepted them. Police said the suspects had hid the ivory in a suitcase. “We had prior information the men were transporting the tusks when we intercepted the car and found them. They will be in court tomorrow (today),” said head of the unit Noah Katumo. The seizure came as China pledged Sh850 million for African nations to help fight poaching. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who is touring Africa, said China is committed to protecting wildlife.The premier spoke after visiting the ivory burning site in Nairobi National Park with President Uhuru Kenyatta. “Our visit to the monument together shows that the two sides are cooperating in good faith to jointly combat poaching,” said Li.

Two Nairobi police officers arrested with ivory at a Thika roadblock (Kenya)

Standard Digital Reporter
May 3rd 2014
NAIROBI, KENYA: Two serving police officers were Friday night arrested while transporting ivory from Meru to Nairobi. A statement from Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS) said the two were netted at a police roadblock along Nairobi-Thika highway. They suspects have been booked at Thika Police Station for the rest of the weekend awaiting arraignment in court. “ KWS officials are preparing to prefer charges against the suspects on Monday (May 4, 2014) at a Thika Law Court relating to being in illegal possession and dealing with a trophy of an endangered species.” The statement said. The two who serve at different police stations in Nairobi County used a private car to ferry the ivory destined for Nairobi. KWS said its officers and Police executed the arrest following a tip off from members of the public.

Counting the cost of East Africa’s poaching economy

Organised crime gangs generate staggering profits smuggling ivory and rhino horn

AFP

Published: 15:33 March 23, 2014

Nairobi: Organised crime gangs in East Africa are generating staggering profits smuggling ivory and rhino horn with impunity, experts say, threatening both an irreplaceable wildlife heritage and key tourism industries.

Kenyan and Tanzanian ports are the “primary gateway” for ivory smuggled to Asia, where demand is fuelled by increasingly affluent markets, especially in China, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns.

Last year, seizures of ivory shipments reached “record levels”, according to a recent Interpol report.

“Large-scale ivory shipments — each one representing the slaughter of hundreds of elephants — point to the involvement of organised crime networks operating across multiple countries,” Interpol said.

 Poaching has risen sharply across Africa in recent years.

Organised gangs with insider knowledge and armed with automatic weapons and specialised equipment such as night vision goggles, brazenly use chainsaws to carve out the rhino horn or remove elephant tusks.

Veteran Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey has now warned that drastic action must be taken, saying that known ringleaders in Kenya are operating with “outrageous impunity”.

The rise in poaching, with animals being slaughtered inside even the most heavily guarded national parks or conservation areas, show that the poachers have little fear of tough new laws designed to stem the wave of killings, he said.

“They could not operate with the impunity we are seeing if you did not have some form of protection from law enforcement agencies,” Leakey said, as he made an appeal for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to take action.

“It is a problem of a few criminals… the ringleaders are known,” he added, claiming that a core group of around 20 to 30 people were organising the mass poaching but that none had faced justice.

It’s a lucrative business: a kilo of ivory is worth some $850 (Dh3,121) in Asia, with UNODC suggesting ivory smuggled to Asia from Eastern Africa was worth over $31 million in 2011.

But such short-term and finite profits generated by the spate of killings are threatening the far more valuable tourism industry, which in Kenya and Tanzania is the second largest foreign exchange earner after agriculture.

“The African elephant is not currently deemed ‘endangered’ as a species, but its decimation in Eastern Africa could be devastating,” UNODC’s report read.

“In addition to the reduction in genetic diversity, its loss could seriously undermine local tourist revenues, a key source of foreign exchange for many of the countries of the region.”

But the region’s two large container ports — Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania — are also notorious trafficking hubs, funnelling more elephant tusks to Asia than all of central, southern and west African nations combined.

The two nations made up almost two-thirds of all large shipments of ivory seized across the entire continent from 2009-2011, according to the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), a tracking database run by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

Seizures of containers crammed full of tusks — often hidden under foul-smelling fish or dried chili peppers in a bid to confuse sniffer dogs or discourage detailed searches — are regularly found.

Much of the ivory smuggled is destined for China, whose rapidly growing economy has encouraged those enjoying disposable income to splash out on an ivory trinket as a sign of financial success.

“Growing affluence in China, where possession of elephant ivory remains a status symbol, appears to have rendered China the world’s leading destination for illicit ivory,” the UNODC report added.

The smuggling of rhino horns is a bigger problem for Southern Africa, which has far more of the endangered animals. It is often done by air, due to the value of the horn and its smaller size.

But scores of East African rhinos are also being killed despite wildlife rangers often risking their lives to protect them.

 Few convictions

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 Action is being taken including far stiffer sentences for wildlife crime, with Tanzania this month jailing a Chinese ivory smuggler to 20 years in jail, and Kenya introducing tough new laws with comparable penalties.

But many escape justice: a recent study by the Kenyan conservation campaign group Wildlife Direct found that just four percent of those convicted of wildlife crime in the past spent time in jail.

Tanzania last year launched a crackdown on suspected poachers, operating under what was reported to be a shoot-to-kill policy and making sweeping arrests.

Leakey, 69, a Kenyan national and former head of the government’s Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said with the “right management” stemming the poaching was “not an impossible” task.

He was key in stemming the rampant poaching of the late 1980s, bringing in extreme measures to combat poachers including sending helicopter gunships into national parks, and organising the iconic burning of stockpiled ivory.

“It is not valuable, it is tragic rubbish,” Leakey said, waving an ivory carving seized from a smuggler, the tiny tusk of a baby elephant.

“It is putting at risk our heritage… you can regrow a crop but you cannot regrow a wildlife species that disappears.”

This article can be found in this link:

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/other-world/counting-the-cost-of-east-africa-s-poaching-economy-1.1307699

Chinese Embassy in Kenya tells its citizens involvement in illegal wildlife trade is not acceptable

TRAFFIC
January 24, 2014

Nairobi, Kenya, 24th January 2014—China’s Embassy in Nairobi last week hosted an event for Chinese businesses and citizens based in Africa to address the growing issue of illegal wildlife trade and their government’s intention to co-operate with local authorities to investigate, arrest and prosecute offenders.

In 2013 China entered into a partnership with the UN Environment Program to help scale up the fight against elephant poaching in Africa specifically, but also views many other aspects of Africa’s wildlife trade as problematic, including the plight of rhinos and pangolins.

This was the first embassy event in the campaign, which involved outreach to State-owned enterprises as well as independent Chinese nationals living in Kenya. More than 80 members of the local Chinese community attended, including influential business leaders, and the highly successful event was widely reported in local media.

China’s Acting Ambassador in Kenya, Mr Tian Lin, in his keynote speech, urged the Chinese community in Africa to obey the national legislation of their African host countries, noting it was what they would expect of anyone visiting China.

Wan Ziming, Director of Enforcement and Training at the Endangered Species Office of the State Forestry Administration of China, told those present: “The Chinese government will not relent in its support for the fight against illegal trade of wildlife products.”

He also spoke of China’s role in helping implement international obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and of the scaled-up law enforcement efforts currently being implemented in China and globally in support of them.

Bonaventure Ebayi, Director of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, spoke about the role of the Task Force, levels of wildlife crime in Africa and the new hard-hitting legislation with deterrent penalties recently introduced in Kenya.

TRAFFIC’s Tom Milliken noted that direct Chinese investment in Africa is currently growing by over 20% annually and that China-Africa trade was nearly USD250 billion in 2013.

“Africa’s economic future is now intimately linked with Chinese investment.  The challenge is to make it a win-win of sustainable development, preventing negative impacts on conservation areas with high biodiversity values and halting illicit trade in wildlife products, particularly elephant ivory and rhino horn.”

He said: “Coming hot on the heels of China’s unprecedented ivory destruction event earlier this month, this Africa-based outreach initiative is further evidence that China has made a serious commitment and desires to do the right thing to help address wildlife trafficking.”

TRAFFIC is also supporting initiatives by the government and private sector in China to help curb the demand for illicit wildlife products. This includes messaging at Guangzhou airport targeting the awareness of Chinese travellers going to Africa, as well as a research programme to understand the motivations of illegal wildlife product consumers that will underpin long-term demand reduction efforts.

The human cost of the demand for ivory (Kenya)

Sarah Morrison, The Independent

December 19, 2013

Every time Lemayan Lelesiit spots an aircraft in the sky, he asks his mother if his dad is nearby. Her answer, she says, breaks her heart each time.

Lemayan, who turns two next month, will never get to meet his father. The former ranger and pilot, Moses Lelesiit, died two years ago when his aircraft came crashing down. He was taking part in an aerial patrol of one of Kenya’s protected conservation areas. He died while trying to defend its elephants and rhinos from the poachers’ guns. He was 41.

Young Lemayan’s story is anything but rare. Scores of families gathered yesterday in Nairobi to commemorate those who had lost their lives in the fight to protect their country’s wildlife. Demand for ivory does not cost just the lives of 100 elephants per day across Africa; across the continent some 1,000 rangers have died in the conflict during the past decade.

In Kenya, they are known simply as “the heroes”. Sixty names adorn a monument in the capital representing all those who have died in the conservation battle since the 1970s. They are mostly men – fathers, sons and brothers – who died while trying to stop poachers from driving Africa’s wildlife to extinction. They almost all left families behind.

Moses’s widow, Habiba, was pregnant with Lemayan when she found out her husband had died. She lost the only breadwinner in her family. She lives in Maralal, a small market town in northern Kenya, and has two other children, aged eight and 13, to support.

“I didn’t believe it when I was told. He was the one who provided everything,” she told The Independent. “Every time my son sees a plane, or a man in uniform, he asks me if his dad is near. Each time, I have to tell him: ‘No, you do not have a father.’ Who could leave a small boy to grow up without a dad? They are very bad.”

She is talking about the poachers who are wreaking havoc across Africa. It is estimated that 20 per cent of Africa’s elephants could be killed in the next decade if poaching continues at the current rate.

Catherine Kalunde Mutua, 30, lost  her father – a ranger – when she was just eight years old. He was shot by bandits while out in the field. “Life was very hard. We were left with our mother, who was not working. We were poor and could only send one brother to secondary school.” Her brother, Arbanus, was given around 67,000 Kenyan shillings, or about £475, in compensation, but the money will never bring loved ones back. “If I had the chance to be a ranger, I would destroy all the poachers,” Arbanus said.

Aggrey Maumo, an assistant director for the mountain conservation area of the Kenya Wildlife Service, knows all about the danger waiting for rangers on the ground. Maumo was with a ranger earlier this year as poachers shot him down. He was 29. “It was very bad. He was shot when I was there. He was the breadwinner of the family.”

He added that he had lost about 70 elephants in his area this year – around 90 per cent as a result of poaching. “We must engage the international community. We must tell them it’s dangerous – that people are losing their lives.” As for those on the front line, he is adamant they are not forgotten. “We must remember these fallen heroes – they died in the line of duty.”