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Kenya praises China plan to uphold ban on rhino parts sale

A Thai customs officer displays seized rhino horn coming from Ethiopia at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on March 14, 2017. [Photo, Reuters]

Kenya has lauded plans by China to rescind its earlier decision to lift the 25-year ban on trade in tiger and rhino parts.

On October 29, China lifted the quarter-century ban on scientific and medical use of tiger bones and rhino hoorn.

The move was criticized by environmentalists and conservation experts, who said lifting the ban will have “devastating consequences globally”.

The China State Council at the time added that it would issue permits for the use of tiger and rhino horn, which the Chinese use to process medicine.

The ban touched on importation and exportation, sale, purchase, transportation, carrying and mailing of tiger and rhino parts.

In March, World Wide Fund for Nature announced that the number of black rhinos had doubled - a first in 35 years following heightened conservation.

A statement from the Tourism ministry on Wednesday stated that upholding the ban on trade in tiger and rhino parts is a step in the right direction regarding conserving the iconic species.

Over the 25 years of the ban, the two species have recorded growth of populations in their respective species.

Conservation of black rhinos started in early 1980s when they were confined to protected areas to keep them away from poachers. According to the International Union for Conservation and Nature, black rhinos are classified as critically endangered, meaning they still face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Kenya has recorded a steady growth of its rhino population, which can be attributed directly to the ban in trade and global co-operation towards recovery of the rhino species.

“We are committed to working with China, other Governments and Global partners to protect and conserve our biodiversity and wildlife resources,” said the statement signed by Communications director Mulei Muia.