NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) said on Tuesday
it will assist the African Union in developing a policy to
enhance the continent’s wildlife protection.
president of the AWF, told Xinhua in Nairobi that in most
African countries, wildlife crime is not treated as a serious
“Our aim is for
African governments to strengthen penalties for wildlife crime
as a way to promote wildlife conservation,” Sebunya said during
the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference underway in Nairobi.
The three-day event
that was convened by Kenya and co-hosted by Canada and Japan
attracted over 11,000 delegates from 180 countries including
heads of states and governments.
Sebunya said that a
draft policy has already been developed and will receive further
input from all key stakeholders before it is adopted by the AU
by the end of 2019.
He added that once
the pan African policy is endorsed by the AU, it will be adopted
by the individual African countries for implementation at the
official said that on the continent, the killing of domestic
animals attracts stiff penalties and custodial sentences while
wildlife crimes get light sentences as no value is attached to
He noted that the
AWF has already helped Kenya to enhance penalties for wildlife
The AWF is also
developing a network of African prosecutors who can cooperate to
fight international wildlife criminal syndicates.
Sebunya added that
African countries can only defeat wildlife crime through
cross-border collaboration as wildlife products originate from
one country and are consumed in another.
organization will also strengthen the capacity of African
countries’ justice system to collect evidence, prosecute and
secure convictions of wildlife criminals.
He noted that
illegal wildlife trade in threatening a number of species
including the rhino and elephant.