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US pledges more help in the fight against poaching

By Robert Kiplagat
Updated Sat, March 5th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3

The US will help Kenya fight poaching and wildlife trophy trafficking to protect elephants and rhinos.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, US Ambassador Robert Godec and Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu at the Maasai Mara University during celebrations to mark the World Wildlife Day

Speaking during celebrations to mark the World Wildlife Day at Maasai Mara University on Thursday, US ambassador Robert Godec said his government has pledged Sh410 million to boost conservation efforts.

"The US will remain a steadfast friend and partner in wildlife conservation. We have been working with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for the last 20 years and have always increased our funding for wildlife," said Godec.

He called for more efforts in the fight against poaching, which he said has led to near extinction of some animal species.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu announced that all wildlife trophies impounded by government agencies across the country will be destroyed by the end of April. This, she said, will show Kenya's commitment to the fight against trafficking of wildlife trophies.

"Endangered wildlife species such as rhinos and elephants are facing enormous threats because of poaching, human wildlife conflicts and loss of habitat," said Wakhungu.

Narok was chosen to host the celebrations because it is a hot spot of human-wildlife conflicts and records high incidences of elephant/rhino poaching and lion poisoning, she said.

Wakhungu warned taxi and truck drivers and boda boda operators against being used to transport wildlife trophy.

Narok Governor Samuel ole Tunai called on the national government to fast-track compensation of victims of human-wildlife conflicts around the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Tunai said the county government is looking for partners to help implement the Maasai Mara Management and Conservation Act.

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