As we all know, poaching remains to be a huge problem in Africa and it is believed that about 30,000 African elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya has a population of 38,000 elephants and 1,039 rhinos and over the last three months Kenya has already lost 51 Elephants and one rhino. Although the Kenya Wildlife Service has not classified poaching as a crisis yet, Non-Governmental Organizations, the Office of Public Prosecutions and other government organisations have sharply differed and have termed poaching a crisis.
Poaching in Kenya represents a vast gamut of destruction as it targets elephants and rhinos which are the most important animals classified under theÛ big fiveÛ that are the crust of tourism in Kenya.
On the 13th May 2014, Camp Kenya, Elephant Neighbors Center, Colobus trust, Pili Pipa Dhow Safari’s, Kenya Wildlife Service and Imperial Bank representatives and other stakeholders, took the initiative of joining a walk campaigning that Ivory Belongs to Elephants’ in order to create awareness to communities around the South Coast of Kenya.
Over 13 Camp Kenya Staff joined the campaign and our Camps International banner was raised up carrying a message to show that we are in support of protecting our elephants.
Camp Kenya staff with other stakeholders at the starting point of the walk
The walk commenced from Southern Palm Beach Resort and it was officially flagged off at 08:30 by representative from World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Flagging off the start of the walk
The campaign was led by Elephant Neighbors Center Executive Director Jim Nyamu, who has been fighting to conserve elephants and rhinos for decades.
“I started this walk alone one year ago but now I’m happy to have friends who are happy to take a similar initiative to conserve elephants” Jim Nyamu
Jim said he won’t stop walking until the world realizes that tusks belong to elephant and horns belong to rhinos. The team walked for two hours tirelessly whilst singing anti-poaching songs such as “meno ni ya ndovu, pembe niza kifaru” which translates to ‘teeth belong to elephants, horns belong to rhino”.
Jim Nyamu (centre) leading the walk
Nyamu, who commands 17 years of conservation experience, gave speeches at every public bus station throughout the day urging people to stop ivory trafficking and report any suspected cases. He also highlighted that the Parliament of Kenya will sentence those found guilty of both poaching, and of posession of ivory, to life imprisonment or a fine of 20 million Kenyan Shillings.
Jim claims that the elephant population has been decreasing by over 1000 every three years and there is a possibility of certain ecosystem losing up to 600 elephants every year in Kenya. Due to this catastrophic data, the country has a serious reason to worry about the destruction of one of its most wonderful animals.
“We should stop pointing fingers to others, it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that ivory trade stops!” Jim Nyamu
Jim Nyamu giving a speech to an audience in Ukunda with Camps International banner supporting his message
Camps International believe that there is power in walking together which sends a stronger message for the campaign, in the hope that many people will listen and stop the ivory trade. It is painful to see elephants die just because of its ivory.
Even the rain could not dampen the spirits of the Camps team from taking part in the elephant anti poaching campaign. Here at Camp Kenya, we believe passionately that ivory belongs to elephants.
It is neither mine nor yours.
Blog written by Peter Kalenga Kai