Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta says his government has declared total war on poaching in a move to save elephants.
He was speaking at the inaugural African Giants Club summit held in Lakipia Kenya.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, the host said conservation of the African elephant is no easy matter.
“These giants must contend with many threats: illegal killing for ivory and other products; conflict with humans; and loss and fragmentation of habitat. For some elephant populations, the magnitude of these threats is such that many predict they may be lost entirely. But if we act as would be required of us, I am convinced they will not be lost.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said it is important to appreciate the wider dimension of the poaching of elephants and even other wildlife we have in this continent.
“There is convincing evidence poaching is aided by international criminal syndicates; it fuels corruption; it undermines the rule of law and security; it even provides funding for other trans-national crime. This directly threatens the capacity of our nations to achieve sustainable and meaningful socio-economic development. That is why my Government has declared total war against poaching. But that alone is not enough: we must mobilise friends and partners across the globe to join us in the fight. The Giants Club has already proved itself a key ally in this fight,” he said.
Uhuru said the protection of Giants requires the combined wisdom of elders and the hope of youth.
“We have not abandoned our legacy to the whims of the market but, rather, have taken bold steps — giant steps — which merit the praise of our ancestors, and which will inspire our youth to recognize the intrinsic value of our natural heritage. To lose our elephants would be to lose a key part of the heritage we hold in trust. Quite simply: we will not allow it. We will not be the Africans who stood by as we lost our elephants,” he said.
President Ali Bongo of Gabon said that poaching is not only dangerous to the tourism and wildlife conservation efforts but to the lives of its people and the future generation.
“Illegal gangs look for tasks to finance other activities like drugs and human trafficking. This illicit trade has contributed to insecurity and instability on the African continent,” he said.
President Bongo said citizens need to be sensitized on the importance of wildlife and conservation.
“It’s a challenge in my country. My voters say elephants cant be more important than people. In the next elections, they are telling me to go ask elephants to vote for me,” he said.