NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Kenya is making strides in curbing poaching and trafficking of wildlife with about 93 elephants poached in 2015 compared to 164 in 2014 while 11 rhinoceroses were illegally killed in 2015 compared to 35 in 2014.
This is according to Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu, who says the government has in the last three years doubled its efforts at combating elephant poaching and illegal trade in ivory within and across its borders.
“Kenya remains committed to ensuring that African elephants are accorded the highest level of protecting and at the same time ensure that trade in elephant ivory is banned,” Wakhungu told a news conference on Friday.
She says total weight of the ivory stockpile in Kenya stands at 135.78 tonnes and 1.5 tonnes for the rhino horns.
She says the fight against poaching and trafficking in wildlife will be expedited by the Inaugural Giants Club Summit to be held in Kenya on 29th and 30th April 2016 hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta who is among the founders of the initiative.
Other founding heads of state include Presidents of Gabon, Uganda and Botswana who are expected to grace the event.
The clubs main objective is supporting the implementation of the African Elephant Action Aid Plan (AEAP) through provision of political, financial and Technical capacity.
“The Inaugural Giants Club Summit is an occasion for member states to renew their commitment towards providing the urgently needed leadership in the fight against wildlife crime, especially poaching of the African elephant and rhinoceros and illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horns,” she added.
Wakhungu has already established an inter ministerial committee that includes Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Kenya Wildlife Service as well as Kenya forest services to prepare for the summit.
Leonardo DiCaprio is among high profile individuals expected to attend a summit on combating elephant poaching as part of the Giants Club.
Other celebrities expected in the summit include Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, Elton John and business magnates George Soros and Michael Bloomberg are also on the list together with, “several heads of State and Government.”
READ: DiCaprio, Kidman to take conservationists role in Kenya this April
In the last three years over 100,000 elephants have been killed across Africa to supply Ivory to illegal markets with proceeds from the trade used to support criminal activity that include armed conflict and terrorism.
President Uhuru Kenyatta burnt 15 tonnes of ivory during last year’s World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2015 with commitment to burn the rest of the stockpile.