Home / World / Africa

African Elephant Fund urges to address trans-border poaching threat

By Lucie Morangi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-02-11 21:54

The African Elephant Fund (AEF) is urging eastern Africa member states to forward joint proposals that address trans-border challenges facing conservation.

The fund, of which China is among the few sponsors, was established in 2011 during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Geneva with the aim of implementing the African Elephant Action Plan that strongly supports the long term survival of elephants. Other backers are Germany, France and Belgium.

According to Patrick Omondi, chair of the fund's steering committee, such proposals will be quickly approved for funding because the sub-region is made up of elephant range states where the animals traverse an eco system spreading across several countries. Having a joint strategy means that resources are aligned towards combating threats that are trans-border but similar in nature.

"These successes will build into our presentation during the CITIES meeting this year that is scheduled to be held in Johannesburg in September," said Omondi, noting that many of the countries in eastern Africa are listed among the eight identified as primary source, transit and destinations affected by the illegal ivory trade.

He was speaking during the first regional wildlife directors meeting that brought together 15 high leveled CEOs, heads of conservation and law enforcement units and policy makers from five East African States, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia.

The meeting convened by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) was sponsored by the AEF. It was aimed at building a mutual front for addressing challenges, formulating and facilitating the execution of strategies towards addressing the entire illegal ivory trade chain from poaching to illegal trade in ivory, parts or derivatives within the sub-region.

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authority Judi Wakhungu said that poaching of elephants in the region has reached unprecedented levels and there is need for joint action to decisively and swiftly reverse the trend.

"This problem is exacerbated by inadequate cooperation among states and agencies compounded by insufficient capacity to strengthen our efforts in addressing this vice which is rapidly soaring to worrying proportions in Africa," she said.

She lauded LATF efforts in fighting wildlife crime and assisting countries in capacity building and enforcement operations saying it has led to the arrest and successful prosecution of wildlife criminals in the region and beyond.

The director of LATF Bonaventure Ebayi said the initiative is designed to cultivate synergy, promote dialogue and bolster cooperation among the wildlife conservation stakeholders to effectively combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the east African region which is bearing the biggest brunt of the menace according to statistics.

"This is inspired by the need to bring wildlife directors/managers of these states that share ecosystems transcending their common political boundaries and face similar conservation dynamic and threads such as movement of wildlife contraband across borders to a consultative forum that will build common understanding of challenges and successes and formulate policies towards addressing poaching and illegal wildlife trade in the African sub-region," said the director.

The two day event also attracted representatives from INTERPOL, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and United Nations Environment Program.

Contact the writer at lucymorangi@chinadaily.com.cn

Most Viewed in 24 Hours