IFAW supports training for wildlife officials in Kenya

Monday, 6 March, 2006
Naivasha, Kenya
Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife Minister, Morris Dzoro, launched an anti-wildlife crime course supported by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) for high-level law enforcement officials drawn from Kenya Wildlife Service, The Kenya Police and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force. The two-week course at the Kenya Wildlife Service Training School in Naivasha comes in the wake of contraband ivory seizures in Asia late last year suspected to be from elephants illegally killed in East and Central Africa.
Mr. Dzoro lauded the initiative, saying it would help to curb illegal trafficking of ivory, rhino horn and other live animals such as reptiles within the region. He said, “Wildlife crime had been worsened by the current drought which has exacerbated the bushmeat trade and killed many wild animals whose trophies now lie in the wrong hands.” 

In his message, Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble termed the training, “an investment in the future of Kenya Wildlife Service, Africa and the planet’s biological integrity.” 

“Environmental crime is a growing problem that is increasingly linked to other crimes such as smuggling, fraud, money laundering, weapons offences and drugs. Just a month ago, authorities in Cameroon rescued an infant chimpanzee and seized 50 kg of marijuana in the same incident. Poaching endangered species is an increasingly lucrative and relatively easy activity and we need to tackle this international problem on an international scale,” he said.
Last September, Philippine officials seized six tons of ivory at Ninoy Aquino Airport, Manila. The haul is suspected to have originated from land-locked Zambia and transited through the Port of Dar-salaam, Tanzania. Twenty days later, in two separate incidents at the same airport, authorities seized 806 kilos of ivory on flights originating from Entebbe, Uganda, and Nairobi.
James Isiche, Regional Director for IFAW in East Africa, said, “The fact that such cargo passes undetected across national borders indicates complex, extensive networks that support and sustain illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. “

“Wildlife crime is a matter of serious global concern - its magnitude is considered second only to illegal drug trafficking. Its transboundary nature requires collaboration both between states and within national law enforcement agencies. This also calls for the deployment of substantial resources which are more often not available to developing countries,” he said.

The law enforcement training is supported by IFAW. Last May, IFAW awarded the Kenya Wildlife Service an Ecomessage Award for best practices in fighting environmental crime. Ecomessage is a system for gathering data concerning incidents, trends and perpetrators of environmental crime. Ecomessage data is maintained by the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France. The database is at the disposal of detectives across 179 member states.

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