KENYA AIRWAYS JOINS ANTI POACHING ALLIANCE
In an effort to curb the rising tide of wildlife poaching in across the wildlife range countries of Africa has Kenya Airways recently formed a new partnership with the Born Free Foundation. The two organizations are teaming up to raise funds for a number of initiatives which contribute towards anti-poaching campaigns and help the conservation of wildlife in Africa.
A high profile event will take place this Friday, 03 May in Cape Town at a star studded VIP gala evening at Moyo at the V&A Waterfront. The Born Free Foundation’s founder, legendary actress and conservationist Virginia McKenna OBE, who starred in the classic film ‘Born Free’ is expected to attend. At the event a spectacular pride of 30 lion sculptures will go on auction to raise funds. Under the partnership agreement with the Born Free Foundation will Kenya Airways be auctioning off their own lion to raise funds.
The lions have already made international news around the world, with Queen guitar legend Brian May and singing sensation Kerry Ellis flying into Cape Town to announce the lions arrival and South Africa’s platinum selling recording artists, The Parlotones, performing on stage and calling for support.
Kenya Airways Group CEO, Dr. Titus Naikuni, said that the airline had entered the partnership to make a contribution towards conservation of African wildlife. He was quoted in a media release received late yesterday saying: ‘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’. To coincide with this event, Dr. Naikuni announced the launch of the airline’s Change Brings Change campaign, with Born Free as their main beneficiary. The campaign will commence on-board their flights from 01 June to support the Born Free Foundation in there initiatives to tackle poaching in Kenya.
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. The founder of Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna added: ‘The private sector in Africa should take a more critical role in preventing animal suffering and protecting the endangered species’.
Wildlife remains one of Kenya’s greatest natural assets. Attracting tourists in their tens of thousands, the country’s rich plant and animal life has earns the country tens of billions of shillings in revenue every year as one of the top rated tourist destinations in the world. The multiplier effect of the economic benefits of Kenya’s wildlife is huge, sustaining many hundreds of thousands of livelihoods, both directly and indirectly. Thus, any threat to wildlife is an issue that cries out for the attention not only of the Kenyan people for whom it is an intrinsic aspect of their national heritage, but also the global community. The recent explosion in wildlife poaching across the country is believed to be driven by organized crime syndicates working for their masters in the Far East, requires immediate action.
But no wildlife law enforcement agency can overcome the challenges on its own, especially not when the current laws are weak and provide only for small fines and short prison terms. Kenya Airways’ Dr. Titus Naikuni added to earlier remarks that ‘…now is the time for concerted efforts from each one of us if this barbaric crime is to be eliminated, our heritage safeguarded for the good of wildlife and the immense benefits it can deliver to be secured. The task of conserving wildlife is not just the responsibility of KWS which is the government agency tasked with the responsibility of conserving and managing wildlife, nor can it be the responsibility of the citizens alone. Through this initiative, we intend to have envelopes in all our flights, so that our customers can make donations towards effective wildlife protection. These funds which can be donated in any currency and in any denomination will then be channeled towards priority initiatives to conserve and protect wildlife. This is kind of a boost that KWS and other conservation organizations need to protect and conserve our extraordinary wildlife’.
Well done Kenya Airways and well done Born Free Foundation.