Kenya to push for total ban on cross-border trade in wildlife products: official

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REFILE - CORRECTING NAME OF SEIZED OBJECT FILE PHOTO: Bags of ivory pieces that have been processed, which were seized by Singapore Customs and the National Parks Board are pictured in Singapore April 3, 2019. Picture taken April 3, 2019 NATIONAL PARKS BOARD SINGAPORE/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Bags of ivory pieces that have been processed, which were seized by Singapore Customs and the National Parks Board are pictured in Singapore April 3, 2019. Picture taken April 3, 2019 NATIONAL PARKS BOARD SINGAPORE

Kenya will lobby the international community to delegitimize trade in wildlife products amid threats of extinction facing iconic species like elephants and rhinos, an official said on Saturday.

Najib Balala, cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife said Kenya is committed to leading global campaigns in support of a total ban on cross-border trade in wildlife products.

“The government will not relent in support for a total ban on trade in ivory and other endangered species internationally,” said Balala.

He spoke during this year’s global march for elephants, rhinos and other endangered species that drew more than 4,000 participants including government officials and conservationists.

Kenya was among more than 130 countries that held the march to raise awareness on the threats facing wildlife that include poaching, climatic stresses and human encroachment on their habitats.

Balala said that this year’s march whose theme was “No Market, No Trade was in line with Kenya’s support for an end to trade in wildlife products.

“The western Black Rhino and the Sumatran Rhino have recently gone extinct due to poaching. The emphasis now is directed towards ensuring that international trade in the endangered species is stopped,” said Balala.

“Kenya’s message is simple – it is not possible to satisfy the international demand for ivory, rhino horn and other endangered wildlife products,” said Balala.

He said that Kenya has lost 40 elephants since 2018 compared to 400 during 2012 and 2013 while the country has lost four rhinos in 2018 compared to 60 in 2012 thanks to robust anti-poaching strategies.