Sunday, February 3, 2013

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) condemns recent elephant killing

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has condemned the recent slaughter of 11 jumbos for their ivory at Tsavo National Park.

WWF has termed the attack as the worst to have ever been recorded in the country and called on Kenya wildlife Service and international community ton step up and save elephants threatened by poaching.

“This horrific crime demonstrates the lengths that poachers will go to get ivory – even killing a two-month old calf.  It highlights the need for the international community to work together to address the global increase in poaching and wildlife crime,” Drew McVey, WWF African elephant and rhino specialist said.

Drew said that to help curtail the poaching menace African states as source of elephant populations should work closely with destination countries in Asia where consumers drive demand for ivory as well as transit territories through which illegal ivory and other animal parts are being smuggled.

The fund said that with the increase of wealthy consumers in Asia countries like China and Thailand for ivory jewellery and ornaments elephants poaching and ivory smuggling has increased across Africa and is set to undermine Kenya’s 1989 ban of ivory trade which was in line with the international CITES control.

“The epidemic of elephant killings that has ravaged populations in Central Africa is now spreading to Kenya – and that’s troubling because Kenya in recent years has largely had a solid track record of elephant management and protection,” Matthew Lewis, WWF’s African species expert said.

Lewis said in an online statement that to ensure that the trend doesn’t continue and poachers are brought to justice the county’s weak and antiquated wildlife laws are modernized as swiftly as possible to ensure that poachers receive appropriately stiff penalties for their heinous crimes.

“WWF is committed to helping the Kenya Wildlife Service adopt the latest systems of law enforcement monitoring, and also helping Kenya work more closely with its neighbors to counter regional poaching syndicates,” Lewis said.

In a statement to KWS Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that last year the country lost the highest recorded number of elephants in the recent years at least 360 jumbos which was 71 m0re than 2011.

“Our wildlife is a major source of income as a nation  and almost the sole source of our earnings from Tourism which has come under serious assault from poachers in recent days,” Odinga said.

The PM called on a quick response from security agencies and treasury to kelp KWS to address the menace by aiding in equipment, personnel and logistical needed to ensure secure parks and protect our wildlife.

“We need a well coordinated, well-financed and properly designed crackdown on poachers. This must involve the police, the relevant ministries and Interpol,” he said.

He also called on the international community to help strengthen the national and international policing to deal with wildlife trafficking as a serious threat to conservation, rule of law, governance and economic development.

© Manuel Odeny, 2013

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