China pledges to back Kenya’s wildlife conservation efforts

Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:16 am

by Chrispinus Omar

NAIROBI, Feb. 22 — The Chinese government on Friday promised to support Kenya’s conservationist efforts amid dwindling number of the country’s elephants due to increased poaching.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan at the same time denied claims of driving the global illegal wildlife trade and termed the accusations by Western and African media on wildlife poaching and illegal ivory trade as false.

“We should be vigilant of the forces behind the scenes in poaching activities across the country; this will be used against the Chinese in severing our good relations,” Liu said according to a statement issued in Nairobi following a meeting between the Chinese envoy and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) director William Kiprono.

The East African nation which has been rocked by rising cases of poaching that has seen a number of rhinos and lions decline sharply in the recently past in the last few weeks has received considerable backing from Britain, Netherlands and Chile as it prepares for the CITES conference in March.

Dozens of rhinoceros, an all-time high, have been poached in the last four years, and current poaching of elephants is documented to be the highest since the 1980s. The illegal poaching of wildlife for commercial purposes is also decimating many more species.

KWS has listed elephants, lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetah, hyenas, Sitatunga, Tana crested mangabey, and Tana red Columbus monkeys as some of the most endangered wildlife species in Kenya.

Liu pointed out that anti-poaching activists in Mombasa earlier this month had falsely accused China of having too light penalties for those engaged in ivory smuggling.

He said China has the most stringent penalties on wildlife crime globally. “Perpetrators of ivory trade and its products get up to life imprisonment,” he said.

Liu said the Chinese government had strengthened law enforcement since joining Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1981.

He stated that recent ivory stock piles in China were bought in 2008. That was the only time, he stated, that a legal trader was permitted by CITES to buy the stockpiles.

The Chinese envoy also confirmed that his country conducts educational campaigns to its citizens globally on wildlife protection.

He gave an example of the 600 Chinese tourists who recently visited Kenya, received text messages to ask them to keep off ivory products during their visit to Kenya. Liu pledged his government’s support to KWS after the new government is in place.

The support, he said, will be on several projects that touch on law enforcement through various security equipments, training and infrastructure development.

In addition, the Chinese government will support legislation efforts together with education and public awareness campaigns locally and internationally.

The number of wild animals in Kenya has reduced drastically, threatening the existence of one of the country’s major attraction to tourists who bring most of foreign exchange, new data released by the KWS indicated.

One of the most affected wildlife species is the lion whose number has reduced drastically between 2002 and 2008.

The country had 30,000 lions in the 1960s when it gained independence from Britain but poaching, drought and human-wildlife conflict have seen the population drop drastically.

Speaking during the meeting, Kiprono thanked Liu for his visit and urged the Chinese government to sympathize with the situation of losing elephants to poachers and illegal gangs.

“Local communities here in Kenya are to blame because they are the ones involved in poaching, however we should not get into blame games but attend to issues of importance,” he said.

Kiprono urged the envoy to involve his government in supporting Kenya’s proposals at the forthcoming CITES meeting in curbing demand for ivory.

The country will be pushing for five amendments to global wildlife conservation treaties in the wake of increased poaching of elephants, rhinos and cheetahs.

The most notable proposal which Kenya jointly submitted with Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali, pushes for a requirement that no application for ivory trade will be submitted during the life of the existing moratorium.

KWS Head of Species, Patrick Omondi, asked for China’s voice internationally in reducing the trade by exploring the possibilities not using ivory in China itself.

“We need your help in building the capacity of wildlife protection and the forthcoming Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Bangkok to sustain the moratorium to another 10 years is critical so as to suspend the illegal ivory trade,” Omondi said.

Re: China pledges to back Kenya’s wildlife conservation effo

Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:22 am

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan at the same time denied claims of driving the global illegal wildlife trade and termed the accusations by Western and African media on wildlife poaching and illegal ivory trade as false.

:evil: :evil:

An ivory-decorated car on sale in China!!

Image

Re: China pledges to back Kenya’s wildlife conservation effo

Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:44 pm

Sick!!! (0)

Re: China pledges to back Kenya’s wildlife conservation effo

Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:02 pm

Don't know about that car, but the Chinese have a lot to answer for, IMO....more later! O:V