Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Friday, August 23, 2019 appealed to all African elephant range states to continue seeking solutions that will ensure the survival of the continent’s elephant for posterity.
KWS made the plea at the ongoing Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland.
It added that the theme of the convention was “the world stand for the survival of the giraffe and African elephant’’.
The KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi that Kenya sought to get protection status by listing all nine giraffe subspecies in Appendix II.
It added that all elephants were also listed in Appendix I, adding that Kenya is preventing any down listing of elephants or reopening of ivory trade.
KWS said participants at the 18th Conference of the Parties of the CITES voted in favour of listing the species for the first time to protect it from unregulated trade.
According to conservationists, giraffe numbers have plummeted dramatically, by up to 40 per cent over the last 30 years, due to threats including international trade in their parts, as well as habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting.
Giraffes are now listed in Appendix II to allow for trade monitoring and population status.
No down listing of elephants was allowed and no changes to allow ivory trade was allowed at the CITES meeting.
The Appendix II listing was proposed by the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
It was passed by 106 votes in support, with 21 votes against and seven abstentions.
An earlier vote on limiting the protection to apply only to sub-species outside of Southern Africa failed to achieve the required number of votes to pass.
In spite of the vote to save the giraffe, the KWS said, challenges remain in improving livelihoods, law enforcement, and closure of domestic ivory markets.
While giraffes fall prey to poaching for bush meat, bones, skin and tail hair, there is also a significant amount of international trade in their bone carvings and trophies, KWS said.