China has donated 18 double-cabin pickups and security equipments worth 537,000 U.S. dollars to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to strengthen wildlife protection in national parks.
“China’s donation is part of the country’s international cooperation in protecting wildlife,” Chinese Economic and Commercial Counselor in Nairobi Guo Ce said during the handing over ceremony.
The donation is part of the promises made by Chinese premier Li Keqiang when he visited Kenya in May 2014.
Guo said that the Chinese government has embarked on protecting wildlife and biodiversity and is currently discouraging the use of ivory as art in the country.
He revealed that the Chinese mainland destroyed 6.2 tonnes of ivory while Hong Kong destroyed 28 tonnes last year.
“China appreciates Kenya’s role in protecting wildlife and is ready to share experience so that conservation efforts could be upscale,” Guo noted.
He revealed that Beijing has started a training program that will enable both Kenyan and Chinese officials to learn conservation efforts.
“We appreciate the Chinese government’s continued assistance to our country in diverse areas including the fight against poaching,” Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities Professor Judy Wakhungu said.
Wakhungu said that the donation will aid KWS security arm to stem wildlife crimes, saying the equipments and vehicles will provide assistance to the newly recruited rangers in the conservation of wildlife.
“The donation will be used prudently and with care to help save wildlife from poachers in the country,” Wakhungu added.
The Acting KWS Director General Julius Kimani said that the KWS will require additional vehicles to help protect the 127 field stations that cover eight conservation areas in the country.
He observed that the number of rangers today stand at 4,000 but it is expected to increase to help in the fight against illegal trade and poaching in the national parks.
According to Elephant Neighbors Centre, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania has lost 82,577 elephants between 2002 and 2013 from a population of 134,506.