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Kenya forms team to decide on game hunting in three months       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will decide on whether to allow game hunting after a new task force launched on Thursday completes its findings and recommendations in the next 60 working days, a government official said in Nairobi.

Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, said the Wildlife Utilization Taskforce is composed of top wildlife and conservation scientists mandated to advise the government on how best to utilize its wildlife resources to ensure maximum contribution to the national economy.

“We want an objective advice, not one sided. Give us the advantages and disadvantages of each of the recommendations that you make. Our interest is to have the best technical and professional advice so that the measures we take are sustainable,” Balala said.

Balala had earlier said Kenya is not about to revive game hunting saying that will hurt Kenya’s wildlife reputation.

“We want to keep that respect that we have earned for years,” he said in reference to the ban that has existed on game hunting for food or trophy since 1977.

But as the press conference progressed, he said whether the ban will be lifted will entirely depend on the recommendations that the task force will give.

“If we must reintroduce game hunting, the task force will advise us. They need to provide us with various methods of wildlife utilization which can withstand scientific scrutiny and are legally defensible,” he said.

The core mandate of the task force is “to review policy and laws on direct commercial exploitation of game”, according to the Kenya Gazette.

Kenya currently keeps wildlife exclusively for tourism, a move Balala said has not resulted in maximum use of the resource.

He said the wildlife resource has a huge potential to create jobs and increase the economic contribution of the tourism and wildlife sector into the economy.

John Waithaka, formerly the deputy director of Kenya Wildlife Service, has been appointed to head the task force.

“We have lost much wildlife as a country and therefore we must do everything possible to conserve their habitat. We have lost 82 percent of some species in the last 40 years according to a recent study. This is why any method we can use to restore our habitats to conserve our wildlife are welcome,” said Waithaka.

He said what the Kenya government has done is the right thing as it will help to evaluate what needs to be done to sustainably benefit from tourism and wildlife resources.


Gaborone International Meet attracts a wide range of athletes 

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- The Gaborone International Meet (GIM), an athletic event that is to be held at the National Stadium in Gaborone, Botswana has received entries from several African countries and regions.

Briefing the media on Tuesday, GIM Managing Director and former middle distance gold medalist, Glody Dube said this year’s Commonwealth Games medalists, Isaac Makwala, Amantle Montsho and Baboloki Thebe were expected to headline the event.

The stars will compete in different track events with Thebe and Makwala hammering it out in the 200m event as part of their Doha Diamond League competition preparation.

The 17th edition of the IAAF World Championships is scheduled to be held between September 28 and October 6, 2019 in Doha, Qatar.

“Initially we did not have the 200m [event], but we have created the event for Makwala and Thebe. You know in private meets like these, sometimes we are controlled by athletes, and we can’t run away from such [things] we need them to come and compete in our event,” Dube said.

Regarding the international athletes, he said South Africa’s 800-meter runner Caster Semenya, made it clear that she was busy with school work and that she was too busy preparing for the Doha meet.

GIM General Manager, Kitso Kemoeng said the event would start at 10am and different athletes would compete in different short, middle and long distance races as well as field events.

The event will be on April 29 and has received entries from  Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


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