Kenya is on course to be removed from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) list related to illegal trade in ivory, wildlife officials have said.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Head of CITES Implementation Solomon Kyalo said that Kenya is among eight countries of primary concern with respect to illegal trade of ivory and poaching of elephants.
“As a result of a series of measures put in place to curb elephant poaching and illegal trade in ivory, Kenya is likely to be removed from the list during the upcoming CITES meeting to be held later this year,” Kyalo said.
South Africa is set to host the 17th Conference of Parties of CITES later this year.
Kyalo said that Kenya delivered a report of the progress it has made towards curbing illegal trade in wildlife products and elephant poaching in January to the CITES Standing Committee.
He said that so far Kenya has not been asked to make any further reports while other nations have been requested to provide additional information on measures they have instituted to curb illegal ivory trade.
“So we are confident that the Standing Committee will recommend to the 17th COP of CITES for Kenya to be removed from the list due to compliance,” he said.
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have been named by CITES as countries with elephants populations and where ivory exits illegally to other countries.
Countries that don’t comply with CITES provisions risked being banned from importing or exporting plant and animal species on the CITES list.
According to KWS, Kenya routinely exports chameleon, tortoise and plants material for either trade and scientific purposes.
Kyalo said that the country’s new wildlife act is one of the reasons why Kenya could be removed from the CITES list.
“It provides stiff penalties for those involved in illegal trade of ivory as well as those convicted for elephant poaching,” he said.