Society / Environment
Friday, 03 Mar 2017 19:55 EATamboleokata@gmail.com
As the world marked this year’s World Wildlife Day today, increased human population in Kenya has been identified as the greatest challenge on conservation efforts in the country. The cabinet secretary for environment and natural resources Judy Wakhungu said population growth had led to encroachment on protected land and conservancies and human-wildlife conflict.
Speaking on Friday when she presided over this year’s celebrations in Nakuru, Prof. Wakhungu said that the various government departments are putting appropriate measures in place to control the trade of ivory which has been blamed for the poaching menace in the country. “The increase in population is a major challenge in wildlife conservation because human beings have encroached on the available protected land forcing wildlife to seek refuge elsewhere”.
The CS noted that 70 percent of Kenyans wildlife was living outside the protected areas something she said is regrettable. Kenya has a total of 50 protected areas across all ecosystems. She called upon Kenyans to be at the forefront in protecting wildlife noting that tourism was among the country’s top revenue generators, saying that without wildlife tourism would be dead.
Prof. Wakhungu lauded the Chinese government for imposing a total ban on the trade of ivory and called upon other countries which provide markets for ivory to follow suit. She noted that the government through the Kenya wildlife service was committed to curbing ivory trade as the only way of protecting the endangered species of Rhinos, Elephants, and sandalwood and rosewood trees. She added that the government was also raising the awareness on wildlife conservation as well as motivating, engaging and empowering the youth on wildlife conservation.
The world wildlife day was first marked in 2014 following the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The theme for this year’s World Wildlife Day was “Listen to the Young Voices.”
The writer is contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Nakuru County