Hands off our elephants, says First Lady

July 27, 2013 8:33 am


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta receives a drawing of elephants from 13 year old Richard Rutere during the official launch of "Hands off our Elephants" campaign at Sankara hotel in Westlands, Nairobi/PSCU
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta receives a drawing of elephants from 13 year old Richard Rutere during the official launch of “Hands off our Elephants” campaign at Sankara hotel in Westlands, Nairobi/PSCU
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – First lady Margaret Kenyatta on Friday evening launched an anti-poaching campaign to respond to rampant poaching, which continues to reap Kenya of its most affluent and significant tourist attractions.

The launch of the ‘Hands off our Elephants’ campaign was alongside the screening of a documentary dubbed ‘Battle for the Elephants’ a film that exposes the illegal and brutal ivory trade that has seen Africa lose big elephant populations.

“The statistics are alarming! Currently, our elephant population in Kenya has reduced to stand at approximately 30,000. Note that over 183 elephants have been slaughtered this year. And we are only in July! How can we stand by while one of the world’s most amazing species is driven to extinction? This is a recipe for instability and poverty, and the very stability of our beloved nation will be threatened,” the First Lady observed during the launch in Nairobi.

She urged Kenyans to take an active role in helping the country’s efforts to save elephants and crack down on poaching which has a heavy economic and tourist impact citing that the government earns revenue of Sh120 billion annually.

In her call for protection of elephants the First Lady further explained that if the ivory trade continued, jobs of over 300,000 people are at risk.

She stressed the need of like-minded stakeholders to put together their resources and efforts if the war on poaching is to be successful.

“Unless this crisis is averted, in 10 years there will be no wild elephants left in Kenya! Ten years – my own grandchildren will never see wild elephants. It is a thought too painful to imagine,” she explained. “Like humans, elephant families that have lost their leaders will struggle, and without the wisdom and experience of their elders many will perish in times of hardship.”

The First Lady who has been passionate in fighting the ivory trade in Kenya pledged her commitment to saving the elephants and cracking down on ivory trade.

“Whenever I see elephants, I marvel at their grace, at their wise and ancient nobility, at their power and gentleness. At the very majesty of who they are and the more I learn about these remarkable beings, the more committed I become to saving them.”

Kenya is among the top African countries reeling in huge losses due to massive and frequent killings of elephants due to the resurgent ivory trade.


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