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Lucia Chebe

Year-Prize: The 9th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Fight against illegal trade in wildlife

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Fight Against Illegal Trade In Wildlife
– Illegal trade of wildlife in my country and its effect on future generation 

Winner's name: Lucia Chebe (Kenya)
Prize: Honorable Mention

The President of Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta said on the 30th April, 2016 on the day he burned over 105 tons of ivory representing a heart wrenching 6,500 dead elephants and one ton of Rhino horn representing 450 slaughtered rhinos in Nairobi that ?For us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants?meaning that the only valuable ivory to Kenyans is only that which is found on an elephant. This was a testimony to the resolve that our country Kenya has to stamp out poaching and illegal trade of ivory. The record-setting burn was meant to send a message to the world that ivory has no value and that its trade should be banned.

 Kenya?s economy is hinged on the tourism trade due to its vast natural wild lands that teem with all sorts of wildlife famous among them the big five which are the Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhinoceros and the Leopard. Unfortunately they carry their fame like a bad omen since they are most targeted by poachers. They were named big five long ago as they were and still are the most dangerous animals to haunt in Africa. They are poached to feed the illegal trade in wildlife. Alot of the ivory ends up in China while the most Rhino horns end up in Vietnam. Asia is therefore a big market that feeds this illegal trade. While such efforts like Kenya are good since burning makes sure that the ivory does not reach the illegal market, other countries have argued that burning makes communities see elephants as worthless. For me I wish that the Asian countries would understand that problem that they are causing the world by depleting this God given natural resource. I encourage them to visit Africa as tourists so that they can see the animals in their natural habitat and appreciate them for that reason alone. This would demystify the animals and raise awareness on how a simple purchase of a horn or ivory destroys a whole heritage and a people. I really cry for the White Rhino as now only 3 now are alive. This is a disaster and man should be ashamed. The people who buy the rhino horns should be made aware of this sick statistics.

Governments should also spend more money in the protection of the endangered species. Countries in the third world like Kenya have a hard time protecting these animals due to lack of enough funds. The first world should help the countries that are custodians of this rare species. In Kenya now there is around the clock protection and armed guarding of these animals. Various conservancies have invested a lot in high technology to protect these animals. They have also built electric fences around the parks to keep poachers out and keep animals in. An example of this is the fence around Mt. Kenya National Park which is found in Central Kenya, a heavily populated area.
The poachers are usually local communities who should be empowered through education and given alternative means of working and income. Poverty makes them kill the animals to make some money. They are the ones who poach and sell to middle men who then sell to people who sell them in Asia. In Kenya there are indigenous communities like the Maasais who protect animals in the Maasai Mara game reserve. They in turn share the revenue from the park with the local government .This is a very good way to conserve the wildlife and stop the illegal trade. I do not think the Chinese or Vietnamese ever enter the parks to poach. So a big part of the problem and solution lies in Kenya.
Another problem in Kenya is the animal and people conflict whereby man is grazing in the parks, building and farming. When this happens poachers are able to access the animals and even kill them and cheat that the animals attacked them and there animals. People should not be allowed to settle near game parks.
The illegal trade in wildlife will be very bad as future generations who will only hear about these animals the way we hear of dinosaurs. The ecosystem will also be upset as the food chains in the game parks will be broken when these animals are extinct. Countries like Kenya which rely heavily on wildlife tourism will be poorer and hence the standard of living will be low creating many problems like crime. The illegal trade also feeds on terrorism whereby terrorist groups poach these animals to create income. So stopping this illegal trade will also stop terrorism. The fight against illegal trade starts with us children by creating awareness and crying out to our adult leaders to fight the crime and stop buying these illegal animal parts. Children do not kill or buy these things so adults should do much more to stop the illegal trade for the sake of our children?s children?s future. Let?s leave them a legacy we can be proud of like our forefathers did. We owe it to the future generations.


  • says :
    'Ivory is worthless untill it is on an elephant'
    Got that!
    Posted 26-10-2016 16:37

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