African Officials Laud China’s Engagement in Wildlife Protection

| February 17, 2016

Nairobi - China has supported Africa-led initiatives to combat wildlife crimes through enhanced border surveillance, park management and public awareness, officials said on Thursday.

Bonaventure Ebayi, Director of the Nairobi-based Lusaka Agreement Taskforce (LATF) which is the Secretariat and operational arm of the Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations Directed at Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora, said robust partnership with Beijing in the area of wildlife protection has paid dividends.

"We have partnered with China under the South-South cooperative framework to promote wildlife protection in this region," Ebayi said during an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a regional wildlife forum in Nairobi.

The Chinese government has supported cross border initiatives to help identify and apprehend criminal syndicates involved in wildlife crimes," Ebayi added.

He hailed China's technical and financial support to help contain poaching of iconic mammals like elephants and rhinos.

He disclosed that China lent support to COBRA, an intercontinental law enforcement operation that led to arrest of suspects and seizure of wildlife products in 2015.

"The Chinese authorities gave us information to help track and arrest key suspects involved in illegal ivory trade across the eastern African region," said Ebayi.

African conservation lobby groups have also partnered with their Chinese counterparts to raise public awareness on threats facing iconic wildlife species in the continent.

Ebayi said the Chinese government and private corporations have supported robust campaigns to raise awareness on the plight of African elephants and mammals.

"We have implemented tailor-made awareness programs with China to help the public appreciate the need to protect wildlife treasures. Commendable gestures from the Chinese government like burning of trophies have re-energized the fight against poaching," Ebayi told Xinhua.

He said the LATF will soon sign a memorandum of understanding with CITES China to explore new areas of cooperation that would strengthen wildlife protection in the region.

African states will also strengthen bilateral ties with China in wildlife protection in line with commitments outlined in the FOCAC summit held in Johannesburg in December last year.

Ebayi said areas of strategic cooperation include law enforcement, habitat protection and public awareness campaigns in source, transit and destination markets for ivory.

"We need regular forums with China to discuss new ways to strengthen protection of wildlife species," he said, adding that the Chinese community in Africa has supported continental initiatives to curb ivory trafficking

African countries need Chinese technology to help upgrade wildlife protection in the face of human and ecological threats to their survival.

Patrick Omondi, Chairperson with African Elephant Fund Steering Committee, noted that financial and technical support from China has led to a decline in poaching across the eastern African region.

"Regional elephants conservation efforts supported by China have paid off, and we look forward to enhanced cooperation with Beijing to eradicate illegal ivory trade in the entire continent," Omondi said.


Category: Human Rights

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