Date Published:

Monday, March 6, 2023 - 11:30

Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s World Wildlife Day (WWD) under the theme “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”. During its 68th session in 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3rd March as a UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

This year’s WWD celebrations were held at the world renowned Amboseli National Park with the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Hon. Peninah Malonza leading the colourful ceremony that brought together partners, stakeholders, and communities to immortalize the global day. This year’s WWD coincided with CITES’ 50th Anniversary. Throughout the past 50 years, partnerships have been at the heart of CITES, with Parties to the Convention working with the shared goal of ensuring sustainability of endangered species

Addressing participants at the grand ceremony, Hon. Malonza underlined this year’s them saying, “my ministry and KWS, the country’s lead wildlife conservation agency, may not on our own realize optimum wildlife conservation and protection, we need partners to augment our efforts in the onerous task of securing and managing the delicate wildlife resources”. She added, “I am aware of, and indeed appreciate the current partners who have stood with us over years in the noble task of conserving our flora and fauna, we need to grow the number of these partners because this strength in numbers will enable us to accomplish much more”.

Hon. Malonza reiterated the important role played by communities in wildlife conservation and urged all actors in wildlife conservation to actively engage them in their endeavours. She said, “My Ministry encourages the continued provision of incentives to communities willing to facilitate the use of their land for wildlife corridors, dispersal areas, and other environmental conservation initiatives”. The Cabinet Secretary stated that the long term strategy will be to explore ways to work with communities, conservation partners and other stakeholders in the tourism industry to attract appropriate tourism activities in conservancies.

In line with the partnership component of this year’s WWD theme, KWS and the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) incorporated Tembo Naming Festival, an initiative by Magical Kenya that brings together individuals and corporations to name and adopt elephants by paying money to help in elephant conservation. This is an innovative sustainability programme aimed at championing elephant conservation in Kenya. Hon. Malonza, her Foreign Affairs counterpart, Dr. Alfred Mutua, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Environment Hon. Kareke Mbiuki, KWS Board of Trustees Chairman Lt. Gen. (Rtd), Walter Raria Koipaton, and a host of other dignitaries and corporations were among these who adopted and named their respective elephants.

Later the Cabinet Secretary flagged off Lorries ferrying fodder and water bowsers to help feed and water wildlife in various drought stricken areas in Kajiado County. She also distributed relief food supplies to members of communities living adjacent to Amboseli National park.

In his remarks Lt. Gen. (Rtd), Walter Raria Koipaton said Kenya is currently experiencing severe drought that has claimed a number of wildlife, thus compelling KWS to go back to the drawing board to devise ways of dealing with this unprecedented scenario of not only providing water but also fodder for wildlife. Describing the situation as dire, he appealed to partners and stakeholders to give support to this noble initiative to save precious wildlife from further devastation owing to lack of water or food.

KWS Acting Director General, Dr. Erustus Kanga said ownership of wildlife is held collectively by the people of Kenya through the State, and its custodianship lies with KWS. “I am confident to state that we are equal to this task, but we also require partners and supporters to accomplish the broad mandate in line with this year’s WWD theme of “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”.

Dr. Kanga said KWS appreciates the critical role Conservancies play in enhancing the conservation of wildlife and their habitats, noting “Conservancies are critical partners with government agencies in addressing the challenges of poaching, human-wildlife conflict, land degradation and rising poverty, they have become stewards of wildlife conservation by working together with the National Government and County governments to protect and benefit from a healthy and productive environment”.