KWS celebrates 'breakthrough' removal from ivory trade list
3 weeks ago, 14:10
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has termed the country's removal from a United Nations agency's wildlife trafficking list a victory despite fierce opposition from lobby groups over the de-listing.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) approved the decision to remove Kenya from a group of eight countries leading as source and transit points for illegal ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales shipped into Asia.
The move comes two years after the CITES secretariat recommended Kenya be de-listed after concerted efforts in implementation of its National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) since 2013, a decision opposed by the World Wildlife Fund Organisation (WWF).
"Kenya’s conservation efforts in the last couple of years have paid off...Since entry into the NIAP (National Ivory Action Plan) process in 2013, Kenya has consistently implemented and reported on progress in implementation of her NIAP," a statement releases by KWS today says.
WWF, however, insists Kenya is a leading exporter of ivory and that the decision is a blow to global efforts of fighting a trade that accounts for the deaths of at least 20,000 elephants every year.
"Kenya and Tanzania are still major exit points for illegal ivory leaving Africa, while China's recent domestic ivory trade ban has yet to yield sufficient results on the ground to reassure observers that they are adequately addressing their role as the largest consumer market,” the lobby group previously said.
Local lobby group, Wildlife Direct says that 223 suspects were arrested for ivory trafficking between 2016 and 2017, followed by 10 nabbed for trafficking rhino horns.
Kenya had been listed amongst its East African neighbours of Uganda, Tanzania and the Asian nations of China, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia as the most notorious countries in elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade.
Elephants are currently considered to be in a steady decline while rhinos face extinction and pangolins are now classified as the world’s most trafficked wildlife species.
Category: business opinion news lifestyle economy corporate markets