The report says elephants could face extinction if the current rate of poaching continues

by Robert Manyara

Zhuo Qiang founded Mara Conservation Fund (MCF) in 2011. His intent was to conserve the endangered carnivores in the wildlife rich Maasai Mara region in southwest Kenya.

The report says elephants could face extinction if the current rate of poaching continues
The report says elephants could face extinction if the current rate of poaching continues

Four years later, the Chinese continues to make steady progress towards keeping safe the lions, elephants and leopards among other treasured animals in the region.

On a daily account, the Chinese national, whose love for wildlife conservation is admirable, is involved in either educating the Maa community on protection of the big cats or donating anti-poaching equipment.

His efforts have borne fruits since the communities surrounding the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the world’s renowned tourist attraction site, have gradually taken up protection of the wildlife as a personal responsibility.

“The communities are more tolerant to lions because they now know them as treasure which they need to take care of and live better lives,” said the MCF founder, Zhuo, in a telephone interview.

Zhuo works with conservancies in his efforts to preserve the Kenyan wildlife, a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya, the largest economy in the East African region.

Ol Kinyei is among the conservancies benefiting from his activities. Around it, he has built three lion proof boas preventing the wildlife conflict with the adjacent communities.

“We also organize for volunteers from China to come to Kenya to learn about the conservation of the wildlife,” he said.

Training the game rangers on pro-active anti-poaching mechanisms has also been his critical role in the protection of the wildlife in the Maasai Mara region.

“The game rangers are very critical in protecting the lions and other animals,” he noted.
“We engage communities in education programs aimed at empowering them with the information on how they can pro-actively engage in the anti-poaching activities,” he said.

MCF in collaboration with East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) recently donated 14 off-road motorcycles to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Narok County government and community wildlife conservancies in the Mara to boost surveillance of the protected wildlife zones.

Conservancies including Ol Kinyei, Naboisho, Olare-Motorogi Conservancy, Pardamat Conservation Area and Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancy Association were among the recipients of the anti-poaching machinery.

He said his entity has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and soon they would be launching education for conservation programs in the national parks.

Zhuo’s anti-poaching drives in the East African nation expresses the increasing collaboration between Kenyan and China in ending the killing of rhinos, elephants and lions.

The two countries last year sealed an agreement for continued partnership in the anti-poaching efforts. China pledged 10 billion dollars towards the activities sending a signal for improved readiness towards combating the poachers’ attempts.

Kenya enjoys an attraction of both local and international tourists to its 19 national parks and conservancies; any harmful activity in these protected areas causes distress to its economy as tourism is the second largest source of revenue to the country’s GDP.

At least 12 percent share of the GDP constitutes of the earnings made from the tourism sector which is mainly dependent on the tourist visits.

In the recent days, wildlife killings coupled with insecurity troubles have threatened the tourism sector resulting in a more than 20 percent drop in the arrivals of the foreign tourists.

However, China as a key development partner of Kenya has kept its support alive. Its extension of ties in attracting its nationals to the country is seen as a way of assisting the East African nation revives the tourism industry.

The Kenya Tourism Board, a state-owned marketing agency, has brought on board Chinese tour agents as part of its strategy to market Kenya in China.

Statistics from the board indicate that arrivals from China rose to 34,923 in 2014 from 31,486 in the previous year. Direct flights from Kenya to Guangzhou are expected to push up the arrivals. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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