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Speaking during the launch of a new anti-poaching campaign involving Kenyan celebrities and global conservation lobbies in Nairobi, the campaigners said Beijing is a strategic partner in efforts to conserve the country’s wildlife heritage.
Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid noted that Sino Kenya bilateral cooperation has revitalized the war against poaching of iconic mammals like elephants and rhinos.
“There is no doubt China has contributed immensely to the war against poaching in Kenya and the region. The country has provided funds, vehicles and state of the art equipment to the wildlife agency to help monitor and arrest criminal syndicates involved in this vice,” Knights told Xinhua in Nairobi.
WildAid and a host of global conservation lobby groups have partnered with Chinese government and celebrities to raise awareness on the plight of African elephants and rhinos in the middle kingdom.
Knights noted the robust campaigns have paid dividends as evidenced by China’s growing support for anti-poaching efforts in the continent.
“There are positive developments in China courtesy for these anti-poaching campaigns. They include law enforcement and a growing number of Chinese citizens in favor of a total ban on ivory trade, “Knights told Xinhua.
He revealed that awareness about poaching among the Chinese people has increased by 50 percent in the last two years while 95 percent of the population is in favor of a ban on ivory trade thanks to public education.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during his State visit to Kenya in May 2014 said China would enhance cooperation with Kenya to protect wildlife and promote sustainable development. The country has donated anti-poaching gear to the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Knights also hailed Chinese companies based in Kenya for supporting wildlife conservation as part of their social responsibility.
Daudi Sumba, a senior official at African Wildlife Foundation said that China has supported strategic interventions to reduce poaching in Kenya.
“We have seen tremendous awareness in China on the negative impacts of poaching thanks to the ongoing campaigns. Our influential partners in China have also supported anti-poaching initiatives in Kenya and the entire region,” Sumba said.