NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – The Kenya Wildlife Service has benefitted from 26 four-wheel drive vehicles donated by USAID which will be used by agency’s security teams.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony at the KWS headquarters on Tuesday, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said the vehicles will be deployed in hotspots to deal with criminals who are destroying wildlife.
“I’m pleased to flag off these vehicles that will be deployed across the country to boost service delivery and will assist in safeguarding our biodiversity. I have faith that KWS has able staff to put them to the best use,” said Balala.
Present was US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec who said that the United States is committed to partnering with Kenya in a bid to conserve the wildlife.
“The United States is pleased to work with the government of Kenya and partner to strengthen Kenya’s capacity to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking and help ensure that communities and wildlife can in fact live together,” said Godec.
The acting Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service Julius Kimani said the vehicles will assist them to discharge their duties diligently as they endeavour to keep the wildlife safe.
“All the vehicles will be deployed for security operations especially the rhino areas and hotspots for animal control. To counter the sophisticated challenges of today, we are matching the use of these vehicles with modern technology to outmatch criminals bent on destroying our precious wildlife,” said Kimani.
According to him, poaching has greatly reduced as only nine rhinos and less than 60 elephants were killed last year.
He said the vehicles will boost the capacity of KWS security teams in the fight against poaching and wildlife insecurity.
He however asked the government to allocate more resources to KWS to meet its wide mandate in the wildlife conservation field, where self generated revenue is not enough to meet operations costs and staff welfare.