by Chrispinus Omar
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya Airways
Friday announced its partnership with the UN Environment (UNEP)
to help end wildlife crime, as the world marked this year’s
World Wildlife Day.
The Kenyan carrier that has
declared zero tolerance for wildlife smuggling on its aircrafts
said the partnership would effectively cut off a main transport
route for smuggling wildlife, dead and alive, from Africa to the
Middle East and East Asia.
Kenya Airways Group CEO Mbuvi Ngunze said in a statement that
the partnership with UNEP underlined the airline’s commitment to
fighting illegal wildlife trade.
He said the company now wants to scale up its efforts by
working with UNEP to provide regular messaging about wildlife
crime prevention across its customer touch points, including
in-flight entertainment and announcements, and staff trainings.
The partnership came in the wake of a poaching crisis across
Africa that is wreaking havoc on creatures including elephants,
rhinos, pangolins and African Gray Parrots.
"We are delighted to announce, on the occasion of World
Wildlife Day, a partnership between Kenya Airways and UNEP to
help end the illegal trade in wildlife," said head of UN
Environment Erik Solheim in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Erik Solheim , head of UN Environment, said in a statement
that engagement of private sector companies is critical to
tackling wildlife crime.
"Airlines in particular connect a large global consumer base
and unfortunately the illegal supply chain," he said. "They can
act as a front line agent for change."
The illegal trade in wildlife is lining the pockets of
criminal networks with an estimated 23 billion U.S. dollars
annually, putting the trade in the same league as the
trafficking of drugs, arms and humans.