Tag Archives: wildlife

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.

Chinese arrested with 3kg ivory at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Kenya)

By CYRUS OMBATI, Standard Digital

January 19th 2014
NAIROBI, KENYA: A Chinese national was Saturday arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after being found with 3.4 kilograms of ivory.
The 40-year-old man was found with the lower ivory while from Napula, Mozambique to Guangzhou, China. His plane had touched down at JKIA and was to connect when he was seized.
Police said the ivory was in his luggage and had been packaged in disguise as cups.
Airport CID boss Joseph Ngisa said the arrest was made on Saturday evening and that the man will appear in court today to face charges of being in possession of the ivory.
“We are seeing an increase of these suspects originating Mozambique with the ivory but we are keen to stop the practice,” said Ngisa.
His arrest came two days after another Chinese national was arrested with ivory, leopards’ skin and multiple passports. He is believed to be behind a number of cases of smuggling of people and ivory in the country, police said.
The 41-year-old suspect was arrested at an apartment Thursday with goods valued at millions of shillings in the posh Riverside estate, Nairobi.
This comes even as Kenya and Chinese government are collaborating to fight poaching and illegal trade of wildlife.
The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s. Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). East African nations have recently recorded an increase in poaching incidents.
The illegal ivory trade is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and in traditional medicines.
Africa is home to an estimated 472,000 elephants, whose survival is threatened by poaching and the illegal trade in game trophies, as well as a rising human population that is causing habitat loss. To demonstrate the seriousness and commitment to end the menace, China recently crushed six tones of the ivory.

Kenya: Poachers Kill Elephants in Maasai Mara Reserve

By Kiplang’at Kirui, The Star

15 November 2013

TWO elephants have separately been killed in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Narok county. In the first incident, suspected poachers killed an elephant at Olposimoru village on the Kenya-Tanzania border near Maasai Mara on Wednesday.

The suspects escaped with the elephant’s tusks Narok KWS senior warden Benard Koruta said the poachers fled to the neighbouring country.

“We have launched a manhunt for these poachers, who are mercilessly killing the wildlife,” he said. In the second incident, an elephant was killed in Mulot after it attacked a man. The elephant, is said to have crossed the Mara River before villagers killed it. Koruta said efforts have been put in place to move all straying elephants back to the park.

“It is now a serious threat to the survival of wildlife. If not checked, it will kill the multi-billion tourism industry,” he said. Recently, the Narok county government received Sh80 million equipment from China to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.

The county got three cars, 20 outdoor GPRS, 20 binoculars, 50 flashlights and 20 cameras from Chongqing Municipal Government of China. Sun Zhengai, a member of the political bureau of the Communist Party of China.

Article at the following link:

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/

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

PRESS RELEASE

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

NAIROBI JULY 24, 2013 – Kenya Airways has joined the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign that aims at ending elephants poaching and ivory trafficking through Kenya, as well as eliminating demand for the commodity around the world.

The campaign, which is spearheaded by Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, has been put together by WildlifeDirect, a wildlife conservation charity, to create awareness, engagement and mobilization on the issue within Kenya, across Africa and around the world

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said that conservation of elephants and other wildlife, is the responsibility of all Kenyan individuals, companies and government agencies.

“Elephants are part of our environment; therefore poaching them harms our country and national heritage. Mother Nature is very unforgiving when we change the balance in the environment. This is the reason we decided to get involved. As Kenya Airways, we do not condone poaching or delivery of poached ivory on our flights, and this message has been passed to our staff and passengers. Any of our staff found involved or abetting poaching will face the consequences,” Dr Naikuni added during a press briefing held in Nairobi.

Speaking during the briefing, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Judi Wakhungu, said that the government is stepping up anti-poaching efforts by deploying modern technology and modernization of the Kenya Wildlife Service; in addition to establishing a Canine Unit to detect movements of illegal ivory at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airports in Mombasa.

“The government has also directed that all poaching cases be prosecuted as economic crimes, and revised penalties to higher fines of over Ksh1 million and sentences of over 5 years. Once the new Wildlife Bill is enacted, these penalties and sentences will be enhanced to make them punitive and discourage poaching and ivory traffickers,” Prof Wakhungu added.

The director general of the Vision 2030 delivery board, Mugo Kibati, said that elephants are a major factor in the success of the tourism industry, which is one of the major sectors in the economic pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

“In our Medium Term Plan, we have set out to grow tourist numbers from the current 2 million to 3 million by the year 2017. However, this will not happen if our elephants disappear,” Mr Kibati told the press briefing.

In recent days, there has been a surge in cases of poaching, posing a threat to elephants. According to statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Service, elephant poaching has grown consistently over the last three during which 829 elephants were killed. Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants to poachers compared to 278 in 2011 and 177 in 2010.

In addition to this, the country has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days. KWS estimates that more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory have been seized since 2009.

The demand for ivory in the Far East, particularly China, has attracted criminal cartels to Kenya, who are feeding the insatiable demand. Conservationists warn that unless the demand is extinguished, poachers will wipe out Africa’s elephants.

The CEO of Wildlife Direct, Dr Paula Kahumbu, lauded the government for welcoming the initiative which brings Kenyans together to save the country’s heritage.

“Kenya traditionally has been at the frontline in combating elephant poaching but we have lost that ground in recent years. It is essential that we work together and restore our leadership position in the world to ensuring that we protect our endangered species, and a global heritage. While we crack down on wildlife crime in Kenya, we also need the help of governments of Africa, Thailand, China and US whom we are asking to ban the domestic markets of ivory as legal markets are a cover for laundering illegal ivory. We will also appeal to the hearts of anyone buying ivory in these countries as they are contributing to the slaughter of African elephants,” Dr Kahumbu added.

In February, Kenya Airways signed a deal with Born Free Foundation, an international charity, to contribute towards anti-poaching campaigns and conservation of wildlife conservation in Africa, and partner to raise funds for such initiatives.

Campaign to save Kenya’s Elephants

http://http://www.coastweek.com/3630-latest-news-margaret-kenyatta-campaigns-to-save-elephants.htm

Kenya’s Elephants may be extinct in 10 years

http://http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-29/kenya-elephants-may-face-extinction-by-2023-if-poaching-persists.html

 

2 suspected poachers are arrested in Nairobi as First Lady launches “Hands Off Our Elephants” campaign

http://http://www.citizennews.co.ke/news/2012/local/item/12448-2-poachers-arrested-as-first-lady-launches-anti-poaching-campaign

Hands Off Our Elephants, says Kenya’s First Lady

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launches anti-poaching campaign dubbed “Hands Off Our Elephants”http://http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2013/07/hands-off-our-elephants-says-first-lady/

Zimbabwe: Conservancy ‘Decimated’ By Land Invaders

Zimbabwe: Conservancy ‘Decimated’ By Land Invaders

Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa

30 September 2011

Land invasions at the Chiredzi River Conservancy are escalating out of control, with warnings that the area faces catastrophe if nothing is done to stop the destruction.

The Conservancy forms part of the Trans Frontier Conservation Area which is the world’s largest inter-regional conservation park, encompassing land from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. But in Zimbabwe lawlessness and the illegal seizure of land means areas like the Chiredzi River Conservancy are being destroyed.

Hundreds of land invaders have moved into the Conservancy and have caused serious damage to the delicate ecosystem there. The invaders have been tearing down trees, destroying the foliage and poaching the animals in the conservancy, in a surge of destruction that could be irreparable.

Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told SW Radio Africa on Friday that they are “hugely concerned,” especially regarding the “tragedy facing the elephant herd there.” He explained that a herd of 70 elephants are being harassed, threatened and hunted by the land invaders, with no intervention from the government.

“The animals’ territory is being completely taken over. Wherever they go they get chased by people with burning sticks and dogs. They can’t even get a drink of water because their watering holes have been polluted by people using the water to wash,” Taffs explained.

Some of the elephants have already been slaughtered, and Taffs warned that they face being wiped out if no one intervenes. He explained that local councils have now threatened to kill the animals, because they are leaving their territory in search of safety, putting them on the path of local villages.

“This is totally out of control and everything is being totally destroyed. It destroys the area, it destroys tourism, and it destroys whatever reputation Zimbabwe might have. It is like the land reform programme all over again in that no one has won, everyone has lost,” Taffs said.

SW Radio Africa has also been told that the rapid clearing of the conservation areas is causing serious environmental degradation, including severe erosion, massive deforestation, destructive fires, along with the rampant poaching. The land invaders are said to be using poison, snares and dogs to hunt for game, causing extreme suffering to the wildlife.

“The coalition government cannot allow the lawlessness and destruction of Zimbabwe’s heritage, our future and that of our children to continue. It is critical that they now take a stand, resolve the escalating crisis and restore the rule of law,” Taffs said.

You can see this article here