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Kenyan official commends China ban on domestic trade on ivory

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- China’s ban of ivory trade in the country is a major breakthrough in saving Kenya’s wildlife, a senior government official said on Friday.

Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources observed that the bold decision is expected to help improve Kenya’s foreign earning from wildlife as it will reduce poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

"We welcome China’s decision and appealed to other countries especially from the European Union and Britain to follow China’s lead and permanently ban all external and domestic ivory trade with legal domestic markets," Wakhungu said during the celebrations of the World Wildlife Day which falls on Friday.

She noted that Kenya is ready to work with partners to help close the market for ivory in an effort aimed at stopping the killing of elephants.

"We must show care and compassion for the wildlife and we welcome privately managed conservancies to help protect the 7 percent of animals that live outside the protected parks," she added.

The Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Kitili Mbathi said that poaching activity has reduced in Kenya in the past three years.

"The fact that we lost only three rhinos last year is proof that poachers are fast losing the battle against coordinated KWS rangers," he added.

He said that the organization has redoubled efforts in dealing with poachers and appealed to the citizens to report individuals suspected to be collaborators with poachers.

Mbathi noted that wildlife conservationists are now resorting to incorporating the voices of young people in helping protecting the animals.

"Trade in ivory and other wildlife products is unacceptable and must be banned globally," the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) Vice President Daudi Sumba said.

Sumba observed that wildlife population in Africa has been hard hit by poaching in recent past and has to be reduced immediately.

The UN World Wildlife Day, which takes place globally on the third of March each year, provides an opportunity to emphasize the importance of protecting wild animals and plants.

This year’s theme "Listen to the Young Voices" highlights the critical role of youth in wildlife conservation.



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