, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 25 – The Canadian government on Tuesday announced its commitment of Sh155.9 million towards fighting illegal wildlife trade in the East African region.
Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya David Angell called for combined global inter-departmental efforts in stamping out the vice saying that it was not unique to environmental agencies alone.
“The issue of illegal wildlife trafficking is not an issue simply of concern to environment ministries and others charged with conservation; it is also a security issue, a livelihood issue and an issue to do with governance.”
“It is an issue that governments as a whole need to be engaged with on a joined basis,” Angell explained.
The Canadian envoy also lauded efforts by the Kenyan government to curb the illegal wildlife trade.
“I want to acknowledge the extremely important work undertaken by the First Lady Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta in bringing public attention in a way that allows Kenyans understand just how important a resource that they have.”
Speaking at the Canadian Residence, Manager of Interpol Environment Crime Programme David Higgins called for innovative ways to combat poaching.
“We need to change the way that we react to the threat. The way we have been doing it will not result in a different approach or result. We need to go back to what we were taught as children and that is using our imaginations, being innovative, pushing forward, having impact and measuring success,” stated the Interpol official.
Higgins further urged Interpol member countries that seize large scale ivory shipments to expedite the sharing of information and documentation from such seizures with other member countries from which the shipments originated or which they are destined.
He added that the media ought to play its role in raising alarm on poaching saying that they are a more effective means of passing information across.
Earlier this month, British envoy Christian Turner raised alarm that terrorists are likely to use poaching as a means of generating revenue to sustain their activities.
“There is a risk that insurgent or terrorist groups could benefit from the illegal wildlife trade hence undermining the rule of law and economies in Africa. So there is a need to bring the leadership at a senior level to deliberate on such risks and ways to avert them,” he said.
Turner also called on the Kenyan government to develop alternative sources of livelihoods for communities that live in areas where the trade is highest.
The smugglers are said to take advantage of the poor and harsh conditions experienced by the community and lure them with money to engage in poaching.