UK raises alarm over increase in ivory trade

NAIROBI: The British government has expressed concern over the sharp increase in international crime targeting wildlife products.

UK High Commissioner in Kenya Christian Turner Tuesday attributed the increase to the rise in demand for the products.

Dr Turner singled out some countries in the Asian continent as the major players in the illegal trade with Africa being the biggest loser.

He said in 2013, the continent lost over 35,000 elephants to poachers. "We are concerned by the sharp increase in cases of international crime targeting elephants and rhinos with Asia being the destination," he said.

The High Commissioner was, however, quick to praise Kenya for her efforts in dealing with poaching.

"We commend the Kenyan government, which recently tracked and arrested a suspect to Tanzania who was involved in smuggling of ivory to Asia," he said.

He said the enactment of the Wildlife Act last year has helped in dealing with poaching.

Speaking at the conference of conservation NGOs in Kenya in Naivasha, Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said cases of poaching were on the decline.

She said between 2012 and 2013, a total of 354 elephants were poached.

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Poaching wildlife