Call to action
In 1973 Kenya had an estimated 167,000 elephants, dropping to 20,000 by 1989 – the year in which former President Daniel arap Moi set fire to 12 tonnes of ivory. A ban on the international commercial trade of African elephant ivory was announced soon after. In 2011, Mwai Kibaki ignited 5 tonnes of ivory in Tsavo. In March 2015 President Uhuru Kenyatta set ablaze 15 tonnes at Nairobi NP in a call to action to alert the world to a poaching crisis that has seen elephant populations plummeting.
Digital radios to outwit poachers
KWS has launched a secure digital radio system to help rangers outwit poachers, who often listen in on their communications. The encrypted radios, purchased from France with a loan of US$7.9 million, will be used in three areas, replacing analogue systems on which technology-savvy poachers can eavesdrop. “This will go a long way in aiding the country to achieve one of the targets under the national elephant Action Plan,” said Prof Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources.
Conservation notes – whale sharks
In the March 2015 issue of msafiri our feature ‘Tickets to Adventure’ opened with a dramatic photograph depicting a close encounter between whale sharks and scuba divers in a controlled situation. We would like to remind readers that there are strict regulations concerning any interaction between swimmers, snorkellers and divers and these magnificent creatures. The East African Whale Shark Trust (www.giantsharks.org) publishes the following internationally recognised guidelines:
1 Never touch the sharks.
2 Maintain a minimum distance of 4m from the tail and 3m from the head and body.
3 Avoid flash photography and underwater scooters.
4 Limit interaction time to 30 minutes for a single shark and total interaction time to 1 hour.
“We apologise if the photograph used in the March feature confused this important issue and we would urge all our readers to find out more about these highly threatened ocean wanderers and support their conservation.” The editor, msafiri
“We live in an interconnected world where the great benefits of global air transport are also being abused by criminals to transport illegally traded wildlife. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and its member airlines can play a critical role in assisting customs and other enforcement agencies by gathering valuable intelligence of suspicious activities and raising awareness among customers, passengers, and staff of the devastating impacts of this illegal trade.”
Said John E Scanlon, Secretary-General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the IATA AGM in June 2015.