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KWS benefits from security equipment from Canadian Government
Date Published: 18 Mar, 2014
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is among several agencies in Africa to benefit from surveillance and intelligence equipment worth over USD 25,000 by the Canadian Government through regional wildlife enforcement agency, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF).
The assorted equipment will enhance the KWS capacity to combat international wildlife trafficking. The equipment will also go a long way towards improving national security and stability in the rural and border areas by disrupting illicit networks involved in poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
Speaking while handing over the equipment to LATF at KWS headquarters in Nairobi, the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya H.E David Angell, reaffirmed his government’s commitment towards tackling the poaching menace.
“It will require a comprehensive and co-ordinated response that goes beyond traditional conservation enforcement to end the poaching menace,” the High Commissioner said.
The Canadian Government recently announced an additional USD 2 million in emergency funding support to combat wildlife trafficking in Eastern Africa. KWS also received a further USD 1,000,000 from the Canadian Government towards supporting the construction of its molecular and forensic laboratory, which is near completion.
Speaking while receiving the equipment, the KWS Deputy Director Wildlife Conservation, Mr. Patrick Omondi, warned poachers and wildlife product smugglers.
“KWS is up to the task and will do whatever it takes to stamp out perpetrators of wildlife crimes. We are equipping ourselves and we will become even more sophisticated in our approach to eliminate poaching,” Mr. Omondi said.
The LATF Director, Mr Bonaventure Ebayi, acknowledged the African region and the world at large has been experiencing an unprecedented increase and sophistication in wildlife crime by well-resourced and organized criminal networks coupled with corrupt practices along the trade chain.
“In order to overcome these challenges, LATF has strived to enhance capacities of relevant national agencies in order to improve law enforcement techniques through identifying, procuring and distribution of specialized equipment to national bureaus of the Lusaka Agreement,” Mr Ebayi said.
The other African agencies to benefit from the similar equipment include the Lusaka Agreement’s national bureaus in Congo, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Mr. Ebayi also used the occasion to announce the tremendous success of the recently concluded inter-regional global enforcement operation code named “Operation COBRA II” that brought together African and Asian agencies to address wildlife crime across the two continents.
The successful one-month long transnational joint operation recorded more than 240 seizures and 400 criminal arrests spanning 28 countries.
The seizures included 36 rhino horns, over 3 metric tons of elephant ivory and over 1000 skins of protected species.
Significantly, the operation recorded the first ever China-Africa joint sting intelligence led operation in Nairobi, Kenya that identified and arrested three Chinese nationals, who had been identified as a major ivory trafficking syndicate that operated between China and Africa.