First Lady launches anti-poaching campaign
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Saturday launched a conservation campaign to save elephants.
The East Africa Grass-Root Elephant Education Campaign Walk dubbed “ivory belongs to elephants,” brought together various stakeholders who participated in the walk is to raise awareness on the value of elephants and rhinos, mitigate human – elephant conflicts and promote anti-poaching activities.
Speaking before she flagged off the walk at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), the First Lady applauded the increasing support for activities geared towards protecting elephants.
She said it is encouraging that ordinary individuals were now spearheading wildlife conservation efforts.
The First Lady commended Mr. Jim Nyamu, the Executive Director of Elephant Neighbours Centre, who is leading the new initiative to protect elephants and rhinos.
She observed that engaging communities at the grassroots level to foster a spirit of harmony and peaceful co-existence between people and the ecosystems was one of the best ways to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.
“I have been to a lot of events and a lot of meetings aimed at addressing the issue of poaching and ivory trade, but I can tell you I have never been to an event quite like this one! It is so encouraging to be here,” said the First Lady.
The First Lady expressed optimism that through individual and collective efforts, elephant poaching will be eradicated.
“Just one year ago, Jim began walking to save elephants and I understand that since then you have walked over 5,000 kilometres; which is simply astounding,” she said.
The First Lady expressed hope that through efforts such as Nyamu’s, the entire East African Community will be pulled towards addressing the issue of elephant poaching and ivory trade.
Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said Nyamu’s passion for conservation of wildlife showcases what Kenyans have been doing to address the poaching menace.
Mr. Nyamu challenged Kenyans to come out in large numbers to help in wildlife conservation.
The team led by Nyamu will take 135 days to cover approximately 3,247 KM starting from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam (Moshi, Morongoro, Bukoba) to Kampala (Queens Elizabeth National Park, Jinja) and back to Nairobi through (Busia, Kakamega, Nakuru) in the three East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Others speakers included, KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi and Conservation Representative Dr. Winnie Kiiru.
Also present were Taita Taveta Governor’s spouse Hope Mruttu and senior Government officials.
Later, the First Lady toured the Nairobi Gallery which is home to the Murumbi African Heritage Collections.
The Gallery is Located at the intersection of Kenyatta Avenue-Uhuru Highway next to Nyayo House.