The growing demand for ivory and rhino horn remains a major setback in the fight against the illegal trade in wildlife.
Kenya Wildlife Service director general Kitili Mbathi said unless the world deals with the demand for ivory, the effort to reduce wildlife crime will be fruitless.
“If we are able to deal with this, then our elephants and rhinos will be safe,” he said at the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting in Nairobi.
Mbathi said Kenya has made strides in dealing with ivory supply through policies and regulations, but demand is a big challenge. He denied that wildlife rangers are involved in poaching and that only police officers have been arrested in the past trafficking in ivory. “The Wildlife Act has been amended and the fines, jail terms and sentencing for wildlife crimes are more severe,” Mbathi said.