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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyan wildlife campaigners kick off long walk to save elephants

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Wildlife campaigners in Kenya on Saturday embarked on a 617 kilometers walk that will cover nine counties to raise awareness on threats to elephants and other iconic mammals.

Speaking at the flagging off ceremony for the walk that will cover 31 days, Jim Nyamu, the Executive Director of Nairobi-based conservation group, Elephants Neighbors Centre (ENC), said grassroots led campaigns are key to strengthen protection of the giant mammals.

"We are embarking on a new journey to educate communities and every other stakeholder on the need to protect our elephants that are facing multiple threats," said Nyamu. The walk will end in the northern county of Marsabit in early May.

Nyamu and other conservationists will participate in the Ivory Belongs to Elephants Nairobi to Marsabit (northern Kenya) walk to revive public awareness on the plight of the giant mammals that are part of Kenya’s heritage.

"Elephants are not only a treasured wildlife species but are a symbol of our heritage and pride. We cannot therefore remain complacent when these giant mammals are at risk of extinction due to action of man," Nyamu said.

The conservationist has covered a distance of 9,840 kilometers to raise awareness on elephant poaching in Kenya and the region.

Kenya’s wildlife agency has partnered with conservation groups to strengthen elephants protection through enhanced policing, public awareness and legal enforcement.

Julius Kimani, a senior official at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said that community-led initiatives have transformed elephants conservation in the country.

"The government recognizes the critical role of communities and civil society to re-energize the war against poaching and other crimes that pose serious threat to our elephants," Kimani said.

He noted that aggressive public awareness, law enforcement and adoption of technology have led to a drastic reduction of poaching in the last two years.

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