The Africa Elephant Coalition (AEC) is proposing that all the African elephant population be listed in Appendix 1 and prohibit any trade in ivory including closure of all domestic ivory markets.
While addressing the stakeholders of the lobby at the close of the 12th Africa Elephant Coalition Summit on Wednesday, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib Balala said that Africa was at a risk of losing all its elephants if trade in ivory was not curtailed.
AEC is a consortium of 29 countries who were lobbying for the ban on trophies associated with wildlife and especially elephant tusks.
“Other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries hold different positions on ivory ban, but we want to engage them more as we take cognizance of the declining numbers of our endangered species and especially the African Elephant,” said Balala.
He said that major threat was demand for farming and grazing land by local communities that leads to human-wildlife conflict.
Balala said that Kenyan government is involving the local communities in matters conservation and educating them that ‘wildlife belongs to all of us’ and by conserving them, the benefits are enormous.
“The Ministry is considering giving locals financial incentives, compensation and sometimes insuring them as this will give them a practical approach in matters conservation,” said Balala.
He said that China, the presumed destination of ivory was working closely with the government to eradicate the trade completely.
“We should not blame China as long as there is a ready market in other developed countries for ivory products. We should first close those markets. We fully support the plan to engage the European Union (EU), Americas and Asian countries to support the Africa Elephant Coalition (AEC) proposals for prohibiting ivory trade and closure of all domestic ivory markets,” he added.
Balala said that he was keen to establish a platform which would bring together all key countries where the AEC would explain its proposals for total ban not only for ivory and rhinoceros horns but others endangered species.
“If we don’t support the proposals to help protect the endangered species, then it means we support their extinction,” Balala remarked.
By Simon Githogori