Kenya joined the world in commemorating the World Wildlife Day that was officiated by Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judy Wakhungu ON Friday 03rd March, 2017. The World Wildlife Day is observed globally every tear on 3rd March since 2014 following proclamation of the day by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2013.
Speaking at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, the CS appealed to Kenyans to combat illegal trade in wildlife, asking them to continue recognizing the intrinsic value of wildlife and the many economic and social benefits derived from the resource. “It is a pity that poaching and illegal trade in ivory continue to bog down not only in Kenya as a nation but the entire world,” said Wakhungu.
The CS noted that the increased human population has created a high demand for land thus exerting an incredible amount of pressure and threat to wildlife and other bio-diversity types in the country. “This is a great challenge that has currently caused human wildlife conflict where pastoral communities have invaded parks and private ranches in search of pasture and this has resulted to killing of animals,” she added.
Wakhungu said that Kenya amongst other countries in the world is ranked as the most committed nation with a well-structured wildlife conservation history composed of rich biodiversity. “As a nation and a people therefore, we have every reason to appreciate and celebrate our wildlife for the many benefits we derive from them,” the CS further said.
She announced that Kenya has over 50 protected areas across all ecosystems which ensures that diversity of wildlife and its beauty is preserved for present and future generations and called for more involvement of communities in the conservation and management of wildlife both in terrestrial and marine ecosystem.
Principal Secretary State Department of Natural Resources Dr. Margaret Mwakima who also attended the event said that this year’s theme ‘Listen to the Young Voices’ echoes the call from cites cop 17 on adoption of resolution, conf. 17/5 for states to engage and empower the youth in wildlife conservation issues and to also inspire young people to actively participate in wildlife conservation efforts.
Dr. Mwakima reiterated that efforts are being made in raising awareness to varied benefits of wildlife and the importance of sustainable management and illegal trafficking of endangered species among African elephants, the Rhino and the African pangolins Rosewoods among others.
The PS acknowledged the observance of 2017 World Wildlife Day, saying it fosters the involvement of Kenyan youth for wildlife conservation and establishment of youth movement.
The event was also attended by among others by Kenya Wildlife Service Director Kitili Mbathi and Nakuru Deputy Governor Joseph Ruto.