Hands off Our Elephants

Hands Off Our Elephants

In a statement issued by Kenya’s first lady, Mrs Margaret Kenyatta, to mark the national anti-poaching campaign “Hands Off Our Elephants"  at least 183 elephants have been killed this year, leaving about 30,000 remaining in Kenya.

“Unless this crisis is averted, in 10 years there will be no wild elephants left in Kenya,” Kenyatta said last week. “How can we stand by, while one of the world’s most amazing species is driven to extinction? “

The amount of illicit ivory being traded has more than doubled since 2007 and African elephants are facing the most serious threat since 1989, when a ban on the commercial trade in ivory took effect, according to the United Nations. Asian economies registering high rates of economic growth including China and Thailand are fuelling demand, while the prevalence of weak governance and corruption has stymied efforts to prevent the animals’ slaughter, the UN said in report released in March.

Increased demand for elephant tusks as prices soared has driven the “rapid” expansion in poaching in the past few years, according to Save the Elephants, a Nairobi, Kenya-based conservation group.

Kenya’s tourism industry employs 300,000 people, Mrs Kenyatta said and the country, home to game parks including the Maasai Mara, counts tourism as its largest foreign-exchange earner, after tea. generating $1.1 billion.