The US has said it will support Kenya in technology, capacity building and in forensic analysis to ensure that the country’s continued efforts to sustain wildlife conservation are strengthened.
This is following the signing of an MOU on Natural Resource Management Cooperation by the US and Kenya aimed at building the country’s technical capacity to combat wildlife trafficking, expand biodiversity conservation and adaptation of climate change.
The MOU was signed on Monday January 25, 2016 by US Secretary for Interior Ms Sally Jewell together with the Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Professor Judy Wakhungu. The agreement will foster training of wildlife rangers, improve technology as well as support information sharing between the two to curb the menace.
The visiting US Secretary also paid President Uhuru Kenyatta a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday January 26, 2016 bearing the message of assurance that the Obama administration will carry on the partnership with the Kenya Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to ensure local communities are involved in wildlife conservation, State press said.
“Here in Kenya you have some models that are working very well with NGOs and county governments. The solution is not only in fencing but rather working with local communities in wildlife conservation,” Ms Jewell said.
On his part, President Kenyatta praised the US government for its continuous support in the fight against traffickers, and wildlife poachers who have been a threat to Kenya’s world famous game.
“Your presence here is a show of commitment to working together as partners,” the President told the visiting US Secretary. He added that cooperation in wildlife conservation programs will enhance existing cordial relations between Kenya and the US.
The head of state appreciated the efforts by US to bring on board other stakeholders especially China to fight the illegal wildlife trade. He said the country was committed to partnering with other countries to conserve wild and other endangered species.
“We are ready to work with everybody because this is not just for us but for future generations globally. We cannot afford to allow our wildlife to be wiped out,” said the President.
During his visit to Kenya last year, President Obama agreed to provide financial support to wildlife conservation in Northern Kenya.
The US gave a commitment of $800,000 (more than Shs 80million) to protect wildlife in East Africa including a 3-year poaching and trafficking assessment program in Kenya to be carried out in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network.
This is expected to effectively curb illegal trafficking and trade through improved surveillance at Kenya’s ports of entry and ports of exit.
“I want to thank you and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for raising awareness of wildlife conservation globally,” the visiting US Secretary said.
Others who were at the meeting include Professor Wakhungu, Principal Secretaries Monica Juma, Karanja Kibichu and US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec among others.
Image Credit: Mt Kenya Wildlife Conservancy