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Kenya launches giraffe recovery master-plan amid dwindling numbers | Coastweek

MAASAI MARA (Xinhua) -- A giraffe is seen at the Massai Mara National Reserve of Kenya. The annual wildlife migration usually starts off in early July from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park to Massai Mara and marks the start of Kenya's tourism peak season. XINHUA PHOTO MENG CHENGUANG

Kenya launches giraffe recovery master-
plan amid dwindling numbers   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Wednesday launched a recovery plan for giraffes amid dwindling numbers linked to poaching, habitat loss, diseases and climatic shocks.

Najib Balala, cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife said the first ever restoration masterplan for giraffes covering 2018-2022 will enhance protection of these iconic mammals that are a major source of tourist attraction.

“We have an obligation to protect giraffes whose numbers have reduced from 80,000 in the 1970s to the current 28,500. Stronger laws are required to root out bush meat trade that is to blame for a decline in the number of these mammals,” said Balala.

He said the government will channel additional resources to boost conservation of giraffes similar to other iconic land mammals like elephants and rhinos.

Kenya hosts 36 percent of giraffe population in Africa and plans are afoot to declare it an endangered species given the magnitude of threats linked to human activities and natural calamities.

Balala said that a robust advocacy campaign targeting communities and land owners will be carried out to help preserve the natural habitats for giraffes.

Kenya’s inaugural giraffe recovery action plan roots for research, greater community engagement and robust information sharing among key stakeholders to halt decline of their population.

Charles Musyoki, acting director general of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said that a national taskforce has already been constituted to look at policy, financing and legal interventions required to promote conservation of giraffes.

“The country is already providing leadership on giraffe conservation across Africa but we must strengthen surveillance of these mammals in free range and protected areas by engaging communities and law enforcement agencies,” said Musyoki.

Enhanced conservation of Kenya’s three giraffe sub-species is key to maintain ecosystems balance in the wild while broadening revenue streams for local communities through tourism.

Philip Muruthi, senior scientist at Nairobi-based African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) said that a recovery of giraffe population in Kenya will unleash ecological, social and economic benefits to the country.

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EARLIER REPORT:

UN calls for international co-operation to combat wildlife crimes

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Wednesday called for international cooperation to combat wildlife crimes and other forms of transnational crimes.

Miwa Panholzer Kato, director of division for operations at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) told a forum in Nairobi that wildlife crime is a low-risk, high-profit transnational organized crime, which is overwhelming countries and communities, affecting biodiversity and development.

“The truth of the matter is that there is no alternative to international cooperation to tackle organized crime and combat wildlife crimes - there is no single country that will alone, be able to curb the plight that wildlife crimes represent,” Kato said during the closing ceremony of the Wildlife Inter-Regional Enforcement (WIRE).

The three-day event was held under the umbrella of the International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).

ICCWC is a consortium composed of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Interpol, World Customs Organization, World Bank and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that is undertaking the task of fighting the multifaceted nature of wildlife crime.

The conference was the first WIRE meeting to be held in Africa and brought together police, customs, prosecutors and financial investigators from over 20 African and Asian countries with a focus on improving Africa-Asia cooperation on the prosecution of wildlife crime.

Kato said that eliminating the trafficking of endangered species requires the greatest degree of cooperation to deliver on the 2030 sustainable development agenda especially on goals 14 and 15 which are ambitious and require proportionally ambitious responses.

She noted that illicit wildlife trade not only endangers animals but also slows down progress and development in many areas of the 2030 development agenda.

The UN official said that customs officers, financial intelligence units, police, wildlife investigators and prosecutors across the global should establish sustainable linkages among themselves.

She revealed that interagency collaboration at country level is as important as cooperation among countries to reduce the operations of wildlife criminal syndicates.

Margaret Mwakima, principal secretary at Kenya’s ministry of tourism and wildlife, called for joint global efforts to preserve the earth’s flora and fauna against great odds that are caused almost uniquely by human greed and selfishness, search for financial wealth and status and by a disregard for law.

Mwakima said that dealing with cross-border crime is difficult given that every nation has its own unique legal framework and internal regulations that govern how wildlife crime is tackled.

She noted that practical and workable solutions including financial investigations, identification of risk indicators for transport routes for trafficking of illegal wildlife products as well as cross-border information exchange should help to halt the international trade in the endangered species.

Noordin Haji, director of Kenya’s Public Prosecutions, said the world is a global village and that transnational organized crime constitutes a major threat to regional peace, security and rule of law.

Haji said that there should be a paradigm shift from regarding wildlife crimes as a conservation issue to a national, regional and international security threat.

“We must also remain conscious of the link between wildlife trafficking and other transnational organized crimes such as terrorism,” he said.

He added that improving Africa-Asia cooperation on the interception, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes is critical to combating wildlife trafficking.

Kenya launches giraffe recovery master-plan amid dwindling numbers | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A pair of giraffes [left] graze at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Giraffes [center] and steenboks are seen at the Etosha National Park, northwestern Namibia. DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Two giraffes in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. XINHUA PHOTOS - PAN SIWEI, WU CHANGWEI and LI SIBO

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