Pope condemns poaching, illegal trade

Pope Francis has urged Kenyans to preserve the natural beauty of this land.

During his speech at the United Nations Environmental Programme on Thursday, the Pope said that Kenya was blessed with beautiful landscapes and wildlife that needed to be preserved for future generations to witness.

He noted that money from illegal trade is used to fuel social ills thus it needs to be stopped.

“Illegal trade in diamonds, bio material, wood, ivory and rare metals fuel political instability, organized crime and terrorism activities,” he said.

He also condemned the killing of elephants for ivory, saying it contributed to the said social vices.

“There is a cry from the very bowels of the earth itself that needs to be heard by the international community,” noted the Pontiff.

The Pope’s views came at a time when the northern white rhino is faced with extinction, with only three remaining in the world after the fourth surviving rhino died in a zoo at California.

Poaching has become a threat to elephants and the remaining sub-species of rhinos are also facing extinction.

In July this year, a US dentist killed Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, Cecil, for a trophy, an act that caused widespread outrage and was followed by the prosecution of those involved.

In June, the government announced that it had allocated Sh1.4 billion to anti-poaching efforts.

While presenting the 2015/16 Financial Year budget estimates in Parliament, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that the government had allocated the amount to help in the war against poaching in the country.

This is after Kenya registered increasing cases of poaching that has affected tourism.

Rotich’s statement came amid a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to have all customs officers suspected of facilitating the transport of animal parts prosecuted and charged immediately.


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