Kenya Airways has joined the war against wildlife poaching in a new partnership with Born Free Foundation, an international charity. The airline unveiled the deal at the Nairobi National Park, whereby the two organisations will not only contribute towards anti-poaching campaigns and conservation of wildlife conservation in Africa, but also partner to raise funds for such initiatives.
Kenya Airways' group CEO, Titus Naikuni, said that the airline had entered the partnership to make a contribution towards the conservation of African wildlife. "With the threat facing wildlife, which is our heritage in Africa, it is important for the private sector to get more involved in stopping the vice," Dr Naikuni added.
The partnership comes in the wake of a surge in wildlife poaching across Africa with elephants and rhinos among the worst hit. Concern is growing amongst conservationists that the endangered African Elephant is currently grappling with what could be the worst crisis to ever hit them since 1989 when international commercial trade in ivory was prohibited.
Elephant-poaching levels the worst in a decade
A report released by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) indicated that elephant-poaching levels were the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures are at their highest levels since 1989. In Kenya, which experts consider a key gateway for ivory smuggling rings leaving Africa, there have been several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days. Rhinos have also been hard hit by poaching and only five species remain, out of the original dozens. In South Africa, rhino poaching has been at an all-time high. In 2012, 668 rhinos were killed and a further 57 in January 2013 alone.
The founder of Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna, said that it requires joint efforts from different players to mount a successful war against wildlife poaching and other such vices. "The private sector in Africa should take a more critical role in preventing animal suffering and protecting the endangered species," McKenna added.
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