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WWF Kenya donates equipment worth Sh1.3 million to KWS for rhino protection

Date Published: 16 Oct, 2013
WWF Kenya donates equipment worth Sh1.3 million to KWS for rhino protection

Kenya Wildlife Service Director (KWS) Mr William Kiprono (left) receives a scanner and microchip from the WWF Country Director, Mohamed Awer. WWF handed over 1000 microchips and five scanners to KWS valued at over Sh1.3 million which will be used to strengthen active rhino monitoring as well as stockpile audits (of rhino horn) in the country.

Efforts to conserve Kenya’s dwindling population of rhinos has been significantly boosted by WWF Kenya which handed over 1000 microchips and five scanners to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) today.

The equipment valued at over Sh1.3 million will be instrumental in strengthening active rhino monitoring as well as stockpile audits (of rhino horn).

The function was attended by WWF Kenya Country Director Mohammed Awer and KWS Director William Kiprono as wll as senior WWF Kenya and KWS officials.

With poachers getting more sophisticated in their approach it is vital that conservation efforts embrace the use of more sophisticated technology to counter the killing of wildlife.

The deployment of specialised rhino horn tracking systems combined with forensic DNA technology will allow for 100 per cent traceability of every rhino horn and live animal within Kenya. This will serve to strengthen rhino monitoring, protect the animals on site and also support anti-trafficking mechanisms nationally and regionally.

Furthermore, investigators will be able to link any poached case to a recovered or confiscated horn and this forms crucial evidence in court contributing towards the prosecution’s ability to push for sentencing of a suspected rhino criminal. These technologies are now being used internationally in support of criminal justice responses to wildlife crime as well as strengthening inter-agency collaborations (between customs, police, justice, wildlife agencies and defense).

This new technology will ensure that every marked rhino in the country is traceable. In addition, every rhino horn will be tracked globally and matched to the rhino from which it was taken. In this way, investigators will be able to link any poached case to a recovered or confiscated horn. This forms crucial evidence in court contributing towards prosecution’s ability to push for sentencing of a suspected rhino criminal. The technology will also expose and provide new insight into the rhino horn trade chain.

These technologies are now being used and supported by WWF continentally in support of criminal justice responses to wildlife crime, strengthening inter-agency collaborations (customs, police, justice, wildlife agencies, defense, and others) to ensure that wildlife crime is treated not just as a serious crime but the networks that promote and sustain the International Wildlife Trade (IWT) are dismantled.

Over the years, KWS and WWF have continued working together to ensure that Kenya meets the CITES CoP16 rhino decisions that seeks to ensure that rhinos remain viable and able to survive current and future threats.  

Success in this effort would not only secure rhino populations in Kenya but also deliver improved governance and institutional strengthening in government, improved ability of government to combat other transnational organized crimes, and increased national and regional stability, all of which creates a more conducive environment for sustainable economic development.

WWF Kenya continues to be an active partner and this year through WWF UK, ARP and other public private partnership will support KWS rhino conservation programme with over Sh32m over the next three years and another additional 2,000 Euros matching fund to conserve the current population of black rhino and ensure the population attains a target growth rate of five percent per annum. Specific areas of support include day-to-day conservation and management work, training and capacity building to equip KWS with modern technology through DNA profiling and forensic investigations.

At a continental and worldwide level, these technologies will expose the rhino horn trade chain and facilitate the dismantling of the networks that promote and sustain the International Wildlife Trade (IWT).

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisation, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

Conservation of Rhinos in Kenya

WWF involvement in black rhino conservation dates back to 1962, when WWF raised money to buy land and partnered with the government of Kenya to expand Lake Nakuru National Park. This effort was recognized in 1987 when the government of Kenya declared Lake Nakuru National Park the first black rhino sanctuary in Kenya. Since then WWF has significantly supported rhino conservation work undertaken by KWS and has remained a major player in black rhino conservation in Kenya.

Currently, KWS and WWF are working together to ensure that Kenya meets the CITES CoP16 rhino decisions that seeks to ensure that rhinos remain viable and able to survive current and future threats. Success in this effort would not only secure rhino populations in Kenya but also deliver improved governance and institutional strengthening in government, improved ability of government to combat other transnational organized crimes, and increased national and regional stability, all of which creates a more conducive environment for sustainable economic development.

For more information on rhinos please go to: click here

For more information please contact

Robert Magori rmagori@wwfesarpo.org (mobile +254 701 570329)

and Paul Udoto

 

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