NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya is experiencing a sharp decline in elephant
and rhino poaching, a senior government official said on
Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, told
a media briefing in Nairobi that Kenya lost nine rhinos and 60
elephants to poachers in 2017, compared to 14 rhinos and 96
elephants lost in the previous year.
“The rapid decline
in wildlife poaching is due to concerted government efforts to
protect national parks and game reserves that began in 2012,”
Balala said during a ceremony to hand over 26 vehicles to the
Kenya Wildlife Service for use for field operations.
The East African
nation passed a wildlife law in 2014 that enhanced penalties for
those convicted of poaching and engaging in illicit trade in
protected wildlife species.
Balala said a
sensitization campaign in the key source markets of animal
products such as ivory has also led to a reduction in wildlife
He said the
government is committed to end poaching of wildlife in order to
protect Kenya’s natural heritage.
“Wildlife is a key
pillar of the economy because it is the mainstay of the tourism
sector that is one of the largest sources of foreign exchange,”
encroachment of animal habitats due to human activities is also
threatening wildlife populations.
“As a country we
need to find a balance between economic development and wildlife
conservation so that we save our natural resource for future
generations,” he said.