, AMBOSELI, Kenya, Sep 20 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has stressed the need for communities involved in wildlife conservation efforts to benefit directly from their noble efforts.
She said communities must reap from protecting wildlife as an incentive for them to appreciate the importance of peaceful co-existence with wild game in their private ranches and minimize human/wildlife conflicts.
The First Lady, who is at the forefront in the campaign against poaching and is passionate on wild game conservation, said elephants are a global heritage and should be protected for posterity.
She was speaking on Thursday when she took her anti-poaching campaign to the Amboseli National Park. Elephants at the park are individually known by names.
The First Lady said, “Here in Kenya, communities must benefit for real from protecting our wildlife. This campaign is aimed at creating a national understanding of the elephants to show the connection between conservation and sustainable livelihoods.”
She praised communities adjacent to national parks and game reserves for the frontline role they played in the protection of wild animals roaming private land during their daily and seasonal migrations.
During the sensitization campaign tour, the First Lady was appraised on the amazing social life of elephants by Katito Saiyalel, a member of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants team.
She described the elephant game drive with Saiyalel as a life changer which every Kenyan should experience to appreciate the amazing animals.
She urged Kenyans to embrace local tourism.
The game park has its ecosystem spreading across the Kenya-Tanzania border and is recognized by United Nations Education, Science, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a biosphere reserve due to its richness in flora and fauna.
The First Lady said the Government has provided the necessary political goodwill and support in the fight against ivory trade to save elephants and other endangered species.
She added, “We are inviting everyone to help us protect the elephants. The world is a global village; the demand for ivory comes from countries far away. We need to work together to save the elephants.”
The First Lady underscored the need for the law to provide for stiffer penalties to deter poaching which was a major threat to the country’s economy, stability and natural heritage.
“We must all be concerned by the impact of poaching. The only people who benefit from ivory trade in Kenya today are a handful of criminals. I am leading the campaign for the future, for my children, imagine Kenya without elephants. All Kenyans must say no to poaching,” she said.
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