NAIROBI, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya marked World Wildlife Day Friday with officials reiterating their commitment to enhancing the protection of iconic species suffering from multiple threats.
Peninah Malonza, the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, said the government will invest in innovative community-based conservation models to halt further loss of charismatic species like giant mammals, carnivores, birds and reptiles.
"As a country, we recognize the intrinsic value of wildlife, the economic and social benefits it provides hence our determination to protect this resource from harm," Malonza said at an event held at Amboseli National Park, located in southwestern Kenya near the border with Tanzania.
She said Kenya has enacted sweeping legislation while intensifying collaboration with key stakeholders to strengthen the protection of wildlife species that are a key source of tourism revenues and sustain ecosystem balance.
Malonza observed that the climate crisis, human encroachment, poaching, diseases and lax policing were posing serious threats to the survival of iconic wildlife species in the country. The current drought cycle had taken a heavy toll on wildlife, she said, noting that the government has rolled out interventions like supplying parks with water, fodder and mineral salts to avert the death of species.
She added that restoration of degraded wildlife habitats through tree planting coupled with an innovative program for conserving elephants through adopting calves at a fee will aid ongoing efforts to safeguard a resource that contributes about 70 percent to Kenya's tourism revenues.
Acting Director-General of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Erustus Kanga said that leveraging partnerships, use of technology and investing in communities have minimized human-induced threats facing iconic species like elephants and rhinoceros.
March 3 is World Wildlife Day, a United Nations international day to celebrate all the world's wild animals and plants and the contribution that they make to lives and the health of the planet. ■