Britain commits U.S. $1.65 million for Kenya wildlife conservation

The British government has committed 1.65 million U.S. dollars towards wildlife conservation in Kenya and to fight the rising international crime targeting wildlife products.

The British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner said Tuesday that Africa lost over 35,000 elephants to poachers in 2013, a number he termed as very high with the illegal traders targeting the ivory.

“We are concerned by the sharp increase in cases of international crime targeting elephants and rhinos,” Turner said in Naivasha, about 90 km northwest of Nairobi when he opened a conference of conservation NGOs in Kenya.

The British envoy however praised Kenya for its efforts in dealing with poaching, which had in the recent past eliminated tens of wild animals.

Turner also praised the enactment of the Wildlife Act last year, noting that this had seen poaching cases drop significantly in the country.

He said the British government is currently training some Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers in dealing with poaching.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judi Wakhungu said cases of poaching were on the decline in the country.

Wakhungu said that between 2012 and 2013 a total of 354 elephants were killed by poachers in the country but the number dropped to 160 between 2013 and 2014.

On rhinos, she said the number dropped from 54 to 27 in the same period due to increased surveillance by KWS.

“We are still concerned over the rise in the international crime targeting wildlife products, but we are working with partner countries to address this,” she said.

“Some other challenges facing wildlife conservation are climate change and change in land use across the country,” she said, adding the government addressing the challenge.