Government urged to involve locals to fight poaching (Kenya)



Date Published
The government has been urged to step up efforts in empowering local communities to fight poaching.

Speaking in Meru Tuesday, Elephant Neighbours Centre director Jim Nyamu said that the government needs to involve the residents to reduce incidents of poaching.

“We need more efforts from the concerned authorities so that we can win this war. However, it is important to note that this campaign has caught the eye of other nations and they too have renewed the momentum against poaching,” he said.

He was speaking at Makutano when flagging off a 100 kilometre-walk from Meru to the Meru National Park as part of 473 kilometre walk across the country.

He said poaching was a serious threat to the economic development of the country.

A majority of the poachers, he noted, are from some of the vulnerable communities and continue plying the illegal trade because it is highly profitable.
It was therefore important for residents to be educated on wildlife conservation because their activities impact directly on the ecosystem, Mr Nyamu said.


He said despite efforts by different stakeholders to campaign for protection of elephants, their population has continued to dwindle over the last few years.

The number of black rhinos, he noted, has also fallen from about 20,000 in the 1970s to approximately 650 today.

“Currently we have a population of about 26,600 elephants compared to the 35,000 that we had in 2011. If this trend continues, then perhaps in the next 10 years we will have no elephants in Kenya,” he said.

He lauded China for destroying six tons of ivory and other wildlife products in an event aimed at shedding its image as the global hub for ivory business.

Mr Nyamu further called on the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to ensure that officers who leave the force are profiled to ensure they do not engage in poaching activities.

KWS Eastern Conservation Area assistant director George Osuri lauded the initiative saying it will go a long way in supplementing conservation efforts.

“KWS encourages similar initiatives that will help reduce poaching activities. We are happy that he has come up with this project that has already borne fruit in other parts of the world,” Mr Osuri said.

He said there are stiff penalties for those found guilty of engaging in the vice.

“We have new laws that have already been enacted. The government is more serious on this issue now more than ever,” he said.