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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Conservationists to help AU develop better wildlife protection policy 

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.

Kaddu Sebunya, president of the AWF, told Xinhua in Nairobi that in most African countries, wildlife crime is not treated as a serious crime.

“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 country level.

The wildlife 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 wildlife.

He noted that the AWF has already helped Kenya to enhance penalties for wildlife crimes.

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.

The wildlife 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.

             

 

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