First Lady joins African leaders,British Royals in push for protection of elephants

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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Thursday shared the stage with African Presidents and British Royals to advocate for the protection of elephants in Africa.

Speaking in London at an inaugural meeting of Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) chaired by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and addressed by Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana) and Prince William Arthur, the Duke of Cambridge, the Kenyan First Lady called on more African countries to support the EPI in its concerted efforts to safeguard African elephants.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who is also the patron of the “Hands Off Our Elephants” initiative, a Kenyan anti-poaching campaign, said Kenya has since 2015 been a supportive member of EPI which has a current membership of 19 African countries.

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EPI is Africa’s indigenous response to the elephant poaching crisis on the continent.

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“Kenya’s rich natural assets are extremely vital for our citizens’ livelihoods, economic growth and pursuit for sustainable development,” First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said.

“Kenya is home to one of the largest populations of the African elephant, we have committed to play a leading role in the global fight against illegal ivory trade,” she added.

First Lady Margaret urged more African countries to become signatories to EPI so that the illegal wildlife trade could be fought across the continent to ensure a sustainable ecosystem.

The First Lady, as leader of the Kenyan delegation at the IWT London global conference, had earlier outlined two of Kenya’s eight pledges geared towards combating illegal wildlife trade.

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“Kenya commits to strengthen law enforcement at key ports of entry and exit to check for any illegal trafficking of trophies through the country and apprehend any offenders perpetrating this crime,” the First Lady outlined.

She added: “Kenya is committed to enhance inter-agency cross border collaboration in illegal wildlife trade at all points of entry and exits for concerted efforts in fighting illegal trade in wildlife trophies.”

Emphasizing the need for a concerted effort to protect elephants, the First Lady said across the world, and throughout history, any change brought about by humanity has always been as a result of a collaborative process.

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“Brokering agreements between diverse stakeholders of similar conviction enables us to take a stand together in what we believe in,” she said.

The First Lady informed the meeting that over the past four years, Kenya has witnessed remarkable milestones in her conservation efforts.

“We have recorded a notable decline in poaching, largely due to adherence to international common policy agreements to save the elephant,” she said.

The First Lady also assured of Kenya’s commitment to support the National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs) platform to mobilise resources for the implementation of sound conservation efforts that would ensure local communities experience economic gain from wildlife conservation.

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