, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of Interior (DOI) has announced a grant to support the country’s National Wildlife Conservation Strategy as the World Wildlife Day is marked globally.
The funding which will be extended to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Africa Conservation Centre will bring to Sh103 million the total amount grants provided in the past year.
In his message to mark the occasion, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said the protection of wildlife and the environment was instrumental to creating jobs and building prosperity.
“By protecting wildlife and the environment, we can create jobs and build prosperity while preserving Kenya’s rich natural heritage,” he noted.
Godec also said the initiative would help preserve Kenya’s rich natural heritage which has been under threat from wildlife crimes ranging from poaching to illegal logging.
USAID has since March 2016, participated in programmes geared towards better wildlife management and prosecution of wildlife crime through a partnership with DOI’s International Technical Assistance Program (ITAP).
ITAP is currently working on a five-year project that uses DOI’s expertise in law enforcement, investigation, and prosecution to create a strong network of regional actors to combat wildlife trafficking throughout East Africa.
USAID is also involved in projects by Save the Elephant, an advocacy group which supports the Elephant Crisis Fund, which mobilises local communities in the East African region to counter wildlife crime.
Other key players in wildlife protection include the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Giants Club Summit, WildlifeDirect and the Likipia Wildlife Forum which champions the protection of rhinos.
Kenya is currently the number one transit country for illegal wildlife products from Africa, hence the need for concerted efforts by international partners to tame networks of poachers who intend to use the country as their soft landing.
The conservation and sustainable management of wildlife and habitats is crucial not only to Kenya’s but also the region’s long term economic growth and development. The tourism industry, which depends heavily on wildlife and protected areas, brings roughly Sh100 billion ($1 billion) to Kenya alone.