Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stop buying ivory, First Lady tells traders

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during the walk to raise awareness on wildlife conservation in Nyeri county on June 25, 2013. Photo/PPS

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during the walk to raise awareness on wildlife conservation in Nyeri county on June 25, 2013. Photo/PPS  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JAMES NGUNJIRI [email protected]

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for suppression of demand for ivory if elephants are to be saved for future generations.

She said those in the ivory business contribute to its demand which leads to killing of elephants.

“I hope that those who buy and use ivory in Africa, Asia, Europe and Americas understand the message-‘Stop buying ivory!” she said.

Youth active role

Speaking at the Mt Kenya Academy in Nyeri on Tuesday, the First Lady urged youth to take an active role in saving elephants.

“You can express yourself by talking to your parents; you can write letters to your MP, Senator, Governor even your President to save elephants.

“You can write songs and perform plays, draw pictures to create awareness within the communities,” she added.

She later embarked on a four kilometre walk from Mt Kenya Academy to the Coca Cola plant at King’ong’o, Nyeri to create awareness on elephant conservation.

Government officials who accompanied the First Lady were Prof Judy Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary (Environment, Water and Natural Resources), Mr William Kiprono director of the Kenya Wildlife Service and students of Mt Kenya Academy.

50 rangers killed

According to Mr Kiprono, 50 rangers have been killed in trying to curb the poaching menace. “This is a very serious issue, and our people are in very remote places protecting our wildlife,” he said.

The KWS boss said despite the loss of lives, failure is not an option for the agency. “If poachers think they can win, we won’t give them a chance to destroy our wildlife,” he warned.

Wildlife Bill

“I’m sure before the end of this year the Bill will sail through and it will address all these issues,” he added.

The Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill proposes stiff penalties for poachers and seeks to address challenges posed by human-wildlife conflict.

“Everyone is talking of getting a portion of land to settle, where are the elephants going to settle?” Mr Kiprono posed.

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