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Lions to be placed very high on Kenya's conservation agenda

On the 5th July we had a 2hr meeting with the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service where we discussed a number of issues concerning the great challenges facing wildlife in general and lions in particular. 

Director Kiprono mentioned that Kenya has a strong will to conserve wildlife, and could greatly benefit from a serious commitment by the international community to deliver a much greater level of commitment and support to assist Kenya with her conservation goals. The Director likened the current approach to dealing with the serious threats facing wildlife to treating malaria with panadol – it might give some relief, but does not cure the problem.  

The Director also mentioned that conservation of Kenya’s wildlife resources is the responsibility of all Kenyans. The KWS is the designated custodian, but wildlife belongs to Kenya’s citizens and must be conserved for future generations and indeed the world community, all of whom have a significant stake. Wildlife resources must cease to be squandered to benefit the few to the detriment of hundreds of millions. 

Lion conservation, said the Director, was to be placed very high on Kenya’s agenda. Lions were to be protected by sound conservation programmes that would determine how many lions were to be conserved, where they were to be conserved in the country, and by the best scientific methods. While Kenya recognized the urgent needs to stem and control the current escalating trend in elephant and rhino poaching, lions would not be allowed to fall by the wayside in a silent extinction. He mentioned that specific programmes would be put in place to ensure the long-term survival of this flagship species greatly important to Kenya.

Director Kiprono called on LionAid to assist in the implementation of a number of innovative lion conservation strategies that would achieve progress in the short-term. 

We thank the Director for his commitment and endorsement of our desire to place lions on an increasingly important position of the wildlife conservation agenda and call on all agencies to assist Kenya in her wildlife conservation goals. Despite growing levels of commercial poaching (bush meat, ivory, rhino horn) Kenya remains a relative island of peace in a sea of turbulence. This is due to the long-standing commitment by Kenya to conserve wildlife. Such commitment not only needs to be applauded but also strongly supported by the world community, and we call on all agencies to cease their “panadol approach” and significantly engage in committed and effective wildlife conservation.

Picture credit : Chris Harvey

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Posted by Chris Macsween at 16:50

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