Kenya Airways launches campaign to curb illegal wildlife trade
28 August 2015, 18:17
Nairobi - Kenya Airways has partnered with
International Air Transport Association (IATA), Kenya Wildlife
Service and global conservation organization, Freeland, to curb
smuggling of wildlife products through commercial airlines.
Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze said on Thursday a joint program
dubbed "Wildlife Friendly Skies" will be implemented by the four
organizations to improve the capacity of airlines'staff to detect
and report movement of illegal wildlife products.
"Wildlife trafficking is a serious crime that not only robs our
people of their heritage but also endangers our tourism
revenues,"Ngunze told journalists in Nairobi.
The partnership comes amid escalating wildlife trafficking run
by organised criminal syndicates who utilise commercial airlines to
smuggle endangered species across countries and continents.
It also comes at a time when poaching and illegal trade of
trophy has persisted on the global arena but more so in Kenya,
where the population of elephants and rhinos is threatened.
Ngunze noted there has been a spike in smuggling of ivories and
rhino horns through airports in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"In the last few years, poachers have threatened to finish our
elephants and rhinos, but as a national carrier, we have rolled out
initiatives to advance the anti-poaching agenda," he said.
He revealed Kenya Airways has partnered with local and
international wildlife conservation lobby groups to re-energize the
fight against poaching of big mammals.
"We note that as a result of globalization and the ease of long
distance travel, wildlife traffickers are exploiting commercial
airlines to smuggle illicit wildlife products,"he said.
Ngunze said the airline has also partnered with state agencies
to intensify surveillance at ports of entry in order to curb
smuggling of wildlife products.
"We have taken proactive steps to ensure we are compliant with
both local and global standards for ferrying legal wildlife,"said
IATA CEO Tony Tyler said Kenyan airline staff will be sensitized
on the emerging local and global trends in wildlife crime.
"Airline staff has a crucial role to play in the fight against
trafficking of endangered wildlife and plants. We should provide
them with tools to help halt destruction of our biological
heritage," Tyler said.
The airline staff will benefit from a comprehensive training
program to boost their capacity to detect and respond to illegal
movement of wildlife products. The training will be facilitated by
a distinguished team of local and international experts on wildlife
Illicit wildlife trade is estimated to generate 19 billion U.S.
dollars a year globally, ranking fourth on the list of the most
lucrative illegal activities, behind drugs, counterfeiting and
human trafficking, according to Freeland.
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