The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Secretariat (Cites) has given a March 24 deadline for signatories to the treaty to give comments on proposals submitted by December 2018.
Kenya is among 90 countries that have submitted 57 proposals to amend the lists of species subject to Cites regulations for consideration at the next World Wildlife Conference (Cites#CoP18) to be held from May 23 to June 3, 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesperson Paul Udoto says Kenya has proposals on the giraffe, elephant, Pancake tortoise, Wedgefish and Sea cucumbers, all of which are endangered species. “Kenya has partnered with other countries in a proposal to end poaching and harvesting of these endangered flora and fauna,” he says.
Southern African countries with large herds of elephants have in the past three Cites meetings campaigned hard for down listing of elephants from Appendix 1 to 2 to allow curling. The window to allow sales of stockpiles of ivory has in the past 10 years fuelled poaching, leading to a drop in elephant population in Africa.
China and its neighbours in Asia are the biggest consumers of ivory products. Most of the seized tusks in Kenya and in East and Central Africa airports in the last decade were all destined for countries in Asia.
KWS acting Director General Charles Musyoki, says last year, Kenya lost 396 elephants due to diverse causes including poaching compared to 727 in 2017. At least six elephants have mysteriously died within Olara Wildlife Conservancy outside Masai Mara National Park this year, locals say. “If these deaths are not stopped, 40 jumbos roaming the conservancy will be killed,” said Lekakaeny Kereto.