NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – The United States government has pledged Sh1.3 trillion to East African countries to combat wildlife crimes, according to the Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine Novelli.,
She said the US government is also leading high level talks with the Chinese government to stop the illegal trafficking of wildlife products.
“We are also working with Asian countries… we had a special meeting with our Chinese counterparts where we discussed the need to work together in stopping poaching at its place, working on the transit of the product and working on demand,” she stated.
She added that this includes working with transportation and tourism agencies.
Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, Novelli said an agreement had also been reached among eight African countries to curb poaching.
The agreement was reached last week during a regional summit on stopping wildlife crime and advancing conservation in Tanzania; Kenya being among the eight countries.
Under the agreement, the eight countries are required to adopt information sharing to security personnel manning wildlife as well as protecting animal corridors.
“What remains now is implementation…we shall have to offer a lot of support to ensure these things get implemented,” she said.
Lack of space for wildlife is slowly emerging as the major challenge in conservation besides poaching.
This is prompted by major infrastructure developments being undertaken within the region.
In Kenya, wildlife is said to have lost approximately 40 percent of its initial land to some of infrastructural developments being undertaken by the government.
This is said to have exposed wild animals to poachers although the Kenya Wildlife Service has since said the government intends to purchase more land to compensate on the lost one.
Tough measures have also been put in place in Kenya to curb the menace.
Under the wildlife law which came into force last year, dealing in wildlife trophies carries a minimum fine of Sh1 million, a minimum jail sentence of five years or both.
The most serious wildlife crimes, the killing of endangered animals now carry penalties of life imprisonment, as well as fines of up to Sh20 million.
Previously, punishment for the most serious wildlife crimes was capped at a maximum fine of Sh40, 000 and a possible jail term of up to 10 years.
Novelli also met with cabinet secretaries from the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Natural Resources; the Ministry of Energy, the National Treasury and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
She is also expected to meet with stakeholders in the energy sector and business leaders.
During her vist, she will also visit Nairobi National Park, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, the iHub tech entrepreneur center, and meet with leading Kenyan wildlife conservationists and social media experts.