Kenyan conservationists march for elephant, rhino protection

Nairobi, Oct 4 (IANS) Leading Kenyan wildlife conservation lobby groups on Saturday took part in the global march to galvanize support for protection of rhinos and elephants that are facing serious threats like poaching and depletion of their habitats.

Senior government officials took part in the 10 km walk to raise awareness on the plight of iconic mammals that are the bedrock of Kenya’s tourism sector, Xinhua news agency reported.

“There is a renewed commitment by Kenyans from all walks of life to promote wildlife conservation. Our elephants and rhinos are at greater risk of poaching and there is need for collective efforts to save them,” cabinet secretary for environment Judi Wakhungu said.

Kenyan conservationists joined their counterparts in other parts of the world to participate in this year’s global march for elephants and rhinos whose theme was “Justice for elephants and rhinos”.

Wakhungu said the government has enacted stringent legislation to deter and prosecute wildlife crimes effectively.

“We have turned a new page in the war against poaching thanks to enforcement of tough legislation to punish offenders. Currently, we have the highest number of wildlife traffickers behind bars in recent history,” Wakhungu said.

She added that adoption of new surveillance technology and community participation has contributed immensely to a reduction in wildlife crimes.

Kenya is among sub-Saharan African countries that have recorded a drastic slump in poaching of elephants.

Wakhungu revealed that fewer than 100 elephants were poached in 2015 while the state and bilateral partners have intensified efforts to disrupt ivory trafficking chain.

Kenyan conservationists are lobbying for speedy prosecution of individuals involved in wildlife crimes.

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