President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday affirmed Kenya’s commitment to push for the total ban on ivory trade at the 17th meeting of the CITES Convention in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this year.
He said the move will ensure Africa’s elephants are protected.
“We will not be the Africans who stood by as we lost our elephants,” Uhuru said.
He was speaking when he opened the inaugural Giant Club Summit, one of the biggest government-led conservation conferences in Africa.
The President marshalled the support of all stakeholders in the fight against illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn.
He told the summit his government has declared a total war on poaching.
“But that alone is not enough, we must mobilise friends and partners across the globe to join us in the fight. The Giants Club has already proved itself a key ally,” Uhuru said.
The summit was attended by Presidents Ali Bongo of Gabon and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, as well as a host of leading philanthropists, conservationists and celebrities.
The President said the historic gathering heralds a new beginning, not just for Kenya, but across a number of elephant-range states.
“I'm particularly proud to be associated with an initiative that seeks to combat poaching by bringing together visionary leaders who will provide the political will, financial resources and technical capacity that is so urgently required to save Africa’s remaining elephants,” he said.
As part of the commitment to save elephants, the President said Kenya is a signatory to the Elephant Protection Initiative.
He said Kenya is also implementing a number of measures to combat elephant poaching and illegal trade in ivory within and across its borders.
These include the enactment of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, which imposed stiffer penalties on wildlife-related crimes.