China’s diplomatic clout will re-energize the push for a total ban on ivory trade during the upcoming Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES), Kenyan officials said on Monday.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu said Kenya is counting on China to back its push for a total ban on ivory trade at the CITES meeting to be held in Johannesburg from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5.
Kenya has developed fourteen proposals that call for concerted efforts to protect rare flora and fauna from extinction linked to human actions and climate shocks.
According to Wakhungu, Kenya will lobby the international community to lift the status of African elephant from Appendix two to one, given the grave threats facing the giant mammals.
“A coalition of 28 African elephant range states has supported our proposal calling for renowned attention to the dire plight of these mammals linked to poaching,” said Wakhungu.
“The presidents of China and the United States last year made a commitment to promote wildlife protection in Africa. We are hopeful this gesture will inject fresh impetus in the push for total ban on ivory trade in both domestic and overseas markets,” Wakhungu said.
She added that the torching of 105 tonnes of elephant tusks and 1.03 tonnes of rhino horns by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 30th this year reaffirmed Kenya’s uncompromising stand against illegal trade in wildlife products.
Margaret Mwakima, principal secretary in the state department of natural resources, said poaching in Kenya has declined by 90 percent in the last two years thanks to support from bilateral allies such as China.