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Wildlife security boost as USAID donates 26 vehicles to KWS | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Kenya Wildlife Services) -- Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has benefitted from 26 four-wheel drive vehicles donated by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Speaking at the flag off ceremony at the KWS headquarters on February 13, 2018, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said the vehicles will be deployed in hotspots to deal with criminals who destroy wildlife. PHOTO - COURTESY: KENYA WILIFE SERVICES

Wildlife security boost as USAID donates 26 vehicles to KWS

NAIROBI (Kenya Wildlife Services) -- Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has benefitted from 26 four-wheel drive vehicles donated by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which will be used by its security teams.

The funding is under a programme titled Kenya Wildlife Protection and Conservation Programme (KWPCP) worth 500-million shillings.

Speaking at the flag off ceremony at the KWS headquarters on February 13, 2018, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said the vehicles will be deployed in hotspots to deal with criminals who destroy wildlife.

"I’m pleased to flag off these vehicles that will be deployed across the country to boost service delivery and will assist in safeguarding our biodiversity.

"I have faith that KWS has able staff to put them to the best use," said the Cabinet Secretary.

US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec who was present at the occasion held at KWS headquarters in Nairobi said that the United States is committed to partnering with Kenya in a bid to conserve the wildlife.

"The United States is pleased to work with the government of Kenya and partner to strengthen Kenya’s capacity to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking and help ensure that communities and wildlife can in fact live together," the ambassador said.

The acting KWS Director General Mr. Julius Kimani said the vehicles will assist the organisation to discharge its duties diligently as it endeavours to keep the wildlife safe.

"All the vehicles will be deployed for security operations especially the rhino areas and hotspots for animal control.

"To counter the sophisticated challenges of today, we are matching the use of these vehicles with modern technology to outmatch criminals bent on destroying our precious wildlife," Kimani said.

According to him, poaching has greatly reduced as only nine rhinos and less than 60 elephants were killed last year.

He said the vehicles will boost the capacity of KWS security teams in the fight against poaching and wildlife insecurity.
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EARLIER REPORT:

New Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala on maiden visit to KWS head quarters

NAIROBI (Kenya Wildlife Services) -- Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, now in charge of the expanded ministry of Tourism and Wildlife on February 8, 2018 made his maiden visit to KWS headquarters in Nairobi where he held a meeting with senior management before addressing staff.

Previously the minister headed the docket of tourism but with the recent reorganisation of the Kenyan government after the last general elections, the president added the Wildlife portfolio to his ministry hitherto domiciled in the ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
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Wildlife security boost as USAID donates 26 vehicles to KWS | Coastweek

  The minister who addressed staff after a short guided tour of facilitates at the headquarters stated his appreciation for the wildlife component being added to tourism noting this is the key product for the country’s tourism industry.

"Today I have come to learn about the wildlife product and the challenges facing its conservation; from outside I used to admire KWS but did not know what you people go through", the minister said when he addressed staff outside Simba Court at KWS headquarters.

He congratulated the staff for being faithful custodians of the country’s heritage that brings a lot of revenue to the country.

He promised to spend more time to understand KWS operations with a view to giving strategic leadership to enable it fulfil its mandate.

NAIROBI (Kenya Wildlife Services) -- Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala inspects an honour guard at the KWS head quarters Nairobi. PHOTO - COURTESY: KENYA WILIFE SERVICES
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He committed to visit all the eight KWS regional conservation areas to learn more about opportunities and challenges facing the country’s premier conservation body, which he described as one of the most iconic parastatals .

" The establishment and welfare of this organisation caught my attention during my briefing, and I know if you don’t take good care of people an institution fails", Balala said.

He however said he was not committing to anything for the time being because he is still learning but promised to be a conservation and welfare champion.

During the visit, the minister was accompanied by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Wildlife, Dr. Margaret Mwakima and other senior ministry officials.

           

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