US governmentt donates Sh410million to Kenya to help in conservation
04 March 2016, 16:55
Nairobi - US Envoy has s announced that his government would be extending an additional Sh410 million to Kenya to support conservation activities.
This bring the US contribution to wildlife conservation over the years to over Sh4 billion.
Robert Godec said these programme, include expanded support to community conservancies in northern Kenya and the Maasai Mara, will ensure that the endangered species are protected.
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He was speaking during celebrations to mark World Wildlife Day at Maasai Mara University on Thursday.
This year theme is “The future of wildlife is in our hands”.
The International Wildlife Day is the day designated by the United Nations to celebrate the world’s wildlife heritage, create awareness on the benefits of wildlife conservation and reflect on the challenges facing conservation.
In attendance were Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities Prof Judi Wakhungu and Narok Governor Samuel Tunai ,KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi and Narok County Commissioner Moffat Kangi,
While citing the “strong and enduring partnership” between the US and Kenyan government on conservation issues, the ambassador added that the U.S. government will provide technical capacity to help Kenya deal with the menace of poaching that threatens the survival of iconic species like elephants and rhinos.
On his part, Tunai called on the US government to consider direct collaboration with the county Government in conservation and water sectors development, particularly because they impact on the human-wildlife conflict..
The governor reiterated his plea for direct partnership with the US government as he noted the increasingly urgent need to conserve the Maasai Mara wildlife heritage.
“All of us, in one way or another, will bear the cost of losing of our wildlife heritage” said Tunai.
The county boss also called on the national government to speed up compensation for victims of human-wildlife conflicts in Narok, which he pointed out is the highest in the country.
Wakhungu , in her turn, announced that the government has asked KWS to destroy the country’s stock of game trophies, including ivory, that have been confiscated by security forces from poachers and
She said the only way Kenya can curb the rampant poaching activities is to bring down cartels involved in wildlife crime.
Wakhungu said that poaching is posing a major threat to multi-billion tourism sector and there is need for enhanced harmonious coexistence between people and wildlife by getting everyone involved and committed to wildlife conservation.
“Kenya’s wildlife, particularly the endangered species such as rhino and elephants are facing an enormous threat because of poaching ,human wildlife and habitat loss. It is for this reasons we need to inform and educate all stakeholders so that they can support and engage in programmes ,initiatives and activities to protect wildlife ,to report poachers amidst them and stop habitat destruction ,” says Wakhungu.
She said that Narok County was chosen to host this year’s event because it is a hotspot of human-wildlife conflict and experienced high incidence of elephant and rhino poaching and lion poisoning.
Wakhungu said that her ministry will continue to provide guidance on various initiatives to protect wildlife by implementing stronger wildlife protection policies and law.
“Further, we have advocated for stronger enforcement of these legislations against wildlife poaching and illegal trade of trophies such as highly priced rhino horns. Other measures include better management of natural habitats, initiation of more viable alternative economic opportunities for those whose livelihoods depend on wildlife and their habitats,” said Wakhungu.
The CS noted as a result of the current scenarios of ever increasing threats to wildlife, awareness creation to different groups about the future of wildlife remains key to safeguarding this natural resource.
Wakhungu also said that national umbrella body of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies’ Association, that was formed recently, will facilitate the enjoyment of benefits and incentives from wildlife conservation and management.
She added that the association will develop standards and best practices for community and private conservancies’ management.
The CS said that her ministry will continue to encourage provision of incentives to communities willing to facilitate the use of land for wildlife corridors and dispersal areas and other environmental conservation initiatives.
“The long term approach will be to explore ways to work with communities, conservation partners and other stakeholders in the tourism industry to attract appropriate tourism activities in the conservancies and develop other financing mechanisms to eventually reduce the level of dependency of these conservancies on KWS for vital service delivery.
She urged the locals to embrace and implement the provisions of the Wildlife Act 2013 on wildlife user rights and the participation of Kenyans in wildlife conservation and management.
“You should pay keen attention to areas touching on devolved government systems where the County Conservation and Compensation Committees are now central to the conservation and management of wildlife,” said Wakhungu.
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