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Wildlfie traffickers better equiped than Kenyan government, lobby says

01 September 2016, 15:27

Nairobi - Conservationists have challenged African policymakers to take more concrete and organized measures to stamp out wildlife trafficking in a just ended African conservation and tourism forum.

As part of the solutions, the conservationists called on regional countries to revise the existing law and pass a wildlife law-specific statute, build and strengthen education capacity of wildlife law enforcement, especially during cadet training.

The recommendations were made at the conclusion of a two-day meeting dubbed Kwita Izina Conversation on Conservation 2016, in Kigali on Tuesday.

The event was held under the theme: "United in driving economic growth through conservation."

The meeting called on governments to recognize conservation as a pillar or driver of the broader economic agenda and incentivize conservation by creating a conducive environment.

"Inculcate accountability and transparency in the management of wildlife, put in place stricter border and customs control...develop coordinated and cooperative law enforcement approaches," the resolutions issued at the end of the meeting said.

Michel Masozera, Country Program Director for Wildlife Conservation Society, said, "We conserve to sustain. Policies need to be translated into concrete actions or else wildlife faces a risk of extinction."

According to international police organization Interpol, over 25 billion U.S. dollars per year is fetched out of wildlife trafficking across the world.

Earlier, Jim Karani, a Legal Affairs Manager at Wildlife Direct (Kenya) decried the fact that wildlife traffickers seem more organized than policymakers.

He attributed this to inactive laws, lack of transparency and accountability in government institutions as well as unsatisfactory social welfare of conservationists.

Rwanda's Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana, said challenges to combat wildlife trafficking lie within the lack of political will.

"We face difficulties in gathering evidences and defining actors involved in illegal trade of wildlife products, because there are normally syndicates and it becomes difficult for law enforcers and other actors to unmask the whole network," said Gasana.

Rhino horns, ivory, hides and skins of big cats and reptiles are among the trafficked wildlife products.

Rwanda last month intercepted a total of 168 kg of elephant tusks involving 14 suspects. 

- Xinhua


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