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KWS hosts diplomats in run-up to CITES meeting in Doha

Date Published: 26 Feb, 2010
KWS hosts diplomats in run-up to CITES meeting in Doha

Elephant is the major animal affected by the ivory trade .

The Kenya Wildlife Service on 26th February, 2010  briefed diplomats based in Nairobi on Kenya’s proposals march Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Doha, Qatar.
They were treated to a bush breakfast meeting and game drive where Kenya further lobbied for their support in ivory ban, only a few weeks before the triennial world conference.
Kenya, along with more than 20 other African countries are proposing a halt to the limited international trade in African elephant ivory and a 20-year moratorium on any proposals to relax international trade controls on the African elephant.
KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich said that Kenya, in lobbying for the ivory ban in the CITES meeting, was taking proactive action for the future Africa’s elephant population.
“If other African countries lose their elephants, the poachers will turn to countries with elephant populations like Kenya,” said Mr Kipng’etich
“As a responsible community of nations we have a lead role in exercising precaution in order to maintain the current threatened elephant populations in the world.”
 Citing the high mortality decrease of global elephant population, from 1,000,000 to 430,000 two decades ago, Mr Kipng’etich challenged the world to support the fight in wildlife conservation.
 Delegates at the 15th CITES Conference of Parties (CoP15) are set to propose new measures to conserve and manage sustainably wildlife populations where much of the focus will be on the elephant species.
The long running global debate over the African elephant has mistakenly focused on the benefits that come from ivory sales may bring to conservation and to local communities.
CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989 but in 1999 and 2008, permitted countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana to sell some stocks of ivory to Japan totaling over 150 tons.
Kenya has already submitted a proposal seeking for consideration at the CoP to correct the text of agreement reached in 2007 at CoP 14 which aims to replace the nine-year moratorium on ivory trade, which ends in 2019 with a 20-year moratorium.
If adopted, the proposal will bind all parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to outlaw trade in ivory.
Last month, Kenya’s proposal won a key backing and secured support of 16 African governments during an African Elephant Coalition (AEC) meeting to maintain the strongest possible international moratorium on trade in ivory.
Kenya also sent a delegation led by Forestry and Wildlife Hon Dr. Noah Wekesa, to the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels, Belgium later that month. The purpose of the meeting was to seek the support of the 27 EU member parties to CITES for the African Elephant Coalition proposal on elephants.
At this year’s conference Tanzania and Zambia who have approximately 90 and 21 tons respectively, are seeking similar approval to sell government owned stocks that have accumulated over the years which Kenya and others that include Congo, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone will seek to vehemently oppose.

In 1979 there were estimated to be 1.3 million elephants in Africa but by 1989 only 600,000 remained. This catastrophic loss was almost entirely due to the killing of elephants for their ivory. Currently, approximately 400,000 remain in Africa today.
In October 1989, through CITES, a ban on all international trade in ivory was passed. The CITES ban went into effect in January 1990.
Demand for ivory later dried up and the price of ivory dropped from about US$300 per kilo to about US$3 per kilo.
Elephants in many parts of Africa were left in peace and their populations were able to recover. As an example, Kenya lost over 85 per cent of its elephants in a 15 year period, going from 153,000 to 19,000. In the years after the ban the population grew to over 35,000.


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