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First Lady Kicks Off CITIES CoP18 “Rip-Off’ Awareness Campaign

H. E. the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, today launched the ‘’Rip Off’’ Awareness Campaign at the Nairobi National Park, that calls for the listing of the African Elephant in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)at the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) following the dwindling numbers of the elephants due to poaching. She was accompanied by Hon. Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, conservation stakeholders and other Ministry staff.

‘’The threat of ivory trade needs to be ended and the time to do it is now. Any attempts to re-open the ivory trade must be opposed strongly,’’ she said.

According to the First Lady, there is a negative dip in the see-saw on African elephant populations that manifests any time a decision is taken by CITES Parties to open ivory trade. That is why we as a country, are in full support of the ban in all trade in elephant ivory.

Her sentiments were echoed by the Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, who said, “the members of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) are committed to continued championing of this position in CITES meetings, until the African elephant is secure across its range.’’

The ‘Ivory Trade is a Rip-Off’ promotion is a tripartite partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority, that involves the production of a limited edition keepers Kenya Airways Boarding Pass with a QR code which, once scanned, directs one to more information on the campaign hosted on the Ministry’s  website (http://www.tourism.go.ke/)

Kenya, together with 31 other African countries, are members of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC). The members of the AEC will be seeking to list the African Elephant in Appendix I of the CITES CoP18 in the upcoming convention that is set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland in August, 2018.

Aside from the jumbo business, the 32 AEC member states will be submitting other proposals for consideration at CoP18. They are inclusion of the Giraffe in Appendix II, transfer of Pancake Tortoise to Appendix I from Appendix II, inclusion of White-spotted Wedge Fish in Appendix II, inclusion of Sea Cucumber in Appendix II and revision of the resolution on conservation of and trade in African and Asian Rhinoceroses and associated decisions.

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