First Lady calls for use of technology in combating illegal wildlife trade


Nairobi, KENYA: (BY PSCU)First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for a synergistic approach that embraces technology in combating illegal wildlife trade.

The First Lady noted that one of the greatest challenges facing wildlife conservation was the sophistication of the methods used by wildlife traffickers around the world.

“These have impeded the gains we have made in breaking through this illegal industry. We can no longer consider traditional or conservative solutions, we must look at new ways in this new age of technology and innovation,” she said.

The First Lady was speaking on Thursday at the Kenya Airways Pride Centre at Embakasi in Nairobi when she officially opened an ‘awareness workshop on combating illegal wildlife trafficking’. The workshop was aimed at offering training to airport and airline staff on the perils of wildlife trafficking.

Saying wildlife conservation is becoming an increasingly prominent global issue, the First Lady said focused leadership, political goodwill, policies and imposition of bans have helped Kenya in registering significant progress in combating the illegal wildlife trade.

“Our efforts have been supported by major campaigns locally and around the world – we have seen active participation by local communities, lobby groups, non-governmental agencies and the media in spreading awareness,” the First Lady said.

She emphasized the need for a collective approach that would harnesses the complimentary capabilities of diverse sectors and groups, saying better intelligence and new methods must be applied because pressure is building and countries continue to suffer huge losses.

“We must accelerate our efforts and increase our investments because our wildlife heritage and invaluable resource is under threat,” she said.

The First Lady said better and stronger networks must also be nurtured to seal the loopholes that have allowed the growth of the illegal trade.

She expressed confidence that innovative measures that include the global transportation systems would to help break the illegal chains of unlawful transportation of endangered species.

“From my work in Hands of Our Elephants, I have learnt that wildlife populations of elephant, rhino, buffalo, giraffe and zebra have been decreasing over the years due to illegal wildlife trafficking and trade. We must ensure that we secure our heritage for our future and for our children’s future,” the First Lady said.

Pledging her commitment to supporting all those who strive to secure the future of Kenya’s wildlife heritage, the First Lady commended Kenya Airways for being among the airlines that have signed the ‘United for Wildlife International Transportation Taskforce’, a declaration committing to zero tolerance against wildlife trade.

She appealed to other organisations and agencies to join the conservation effort by signing up the declaration to halt illegal wildlife trading.

Tourism CS Najib Balala praised the First Lady for championing the war against illegal wildlife trafficking.

Other speakers included Transport and Infrastructure Development Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure, U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec and Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz.

The U.S. Ambassador emphasized his government’s commitment to working closely with Kenya in tackling wildlife crimes.