Photo of some of the endangered marine species
Conservationists in the regional entities from Kenya,
Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda in partnership with the Association Media in Kenya
have called out the media to be deliberate and take a proactive approach on
The ‘Increasing E.African Media Coverage of conversation
and wildlife issues’ project, seeks to equip journalists with firsthand
information on biodiversity conservation, wildlife trafficking and how to cover
the environment more effectively.
Speaking during a webinar exchange AMWIK’s Executive
Director, Patience Nyange, said that, conversations around wildlife
conservation need to be sustained.
“We as the media partners need to dedicate
our time, collaborate and bring a human face to this matter. There is need to
be deliberate in covering and diligently conducting follow ups on wildlife
conservation stories,” she noted.
In 2022, WWF, in
their Living Planet Report revealed that there was a staggering 69% average
decline in global wildlife populations which is a crisis. Kenya is known for
iconic wildlife, but many of these species have been under threats especially
for illegal trade.
Wildlife conservation practice has over the years, been
limited to the big five leaving the other species endangered. According to a
report by WUP there is increasing concern about the commercial trade in marine
species and their products originating in East Africa going to Asian countries.
Research Manager from TRAFFIC International East Africa underscored by saying
that unsustainable fishing is leading to the depletion of key reef and other
Additionally he noted that compliance with the marine
regulations is low and there are reports of catching and trade in endangered,
protected and threatened species such as sea turtles and black teat fish among
others. “Rescuing, protecting and creating awareness of endangered marine
species which are already facing extinction is of utmost importance,” Martin
TRAFFIC International East Africa, Allen Chad Mgaza, also noted that
consumption of wildlife meat is high in the region. He continued by stating
that local sale of wild meat is common in Uganda compared to Kenya and
“KWS in 2020 were able to impound 800kg of bush meat in Burma market
sold as beef. Most vendors sell within their trusted sources in fear of law
enforcers,” he added. Allen further observed that curio souvenir shops continue
to sell products from the wildlife while supermarkets are selling marine
products like sea cucumbers. “Illegal hunting for this products threatens many
species like the elephants, rhinoceros and even buffaloes. There is need for
more intervention from law enforcement to combat this trade” he said.
exchange webinar, Dr. John Kioko, Amboseli Chyulu landscape coordinator
WWF-Kenya noted that conservation issues are complex and that coordinated
approach is critical.
He further spoke by saying that they engage games scouts
to man the sanctuaries by combating illegal wildlife trade through paying and
facilitating their participation. Further asserting that illegal trade has a
great connection with climate change.
“We need to understand the inter-relationships
of how the eco-system works and how it is connected to the illegal trade. The
media sector, therefore needs to get involved by informing and creating
awareness to the local communities on wildlife conservation,” he emphasized.
light,Kiundu Waweru, Project Manager, Internews, urged the media sector to take
advantage and tap in to the local community and inform them on the importance
of conserving these animals. He also noted that there are loopholes in how the
media covers issues on conservation.
“We tell these stories when the country
has been struck by a disaster but not deliberately doing investigations and
thinking more on solution-based stories. There is need to connect with the
experts like KWS, WWF and other resourceful persons to voice on these
environmental problems,” he added.
concluded by saying that the media is a key aide in conservation efforts and
that how biodiversity and conservation issues are portrayed in the media can
influence behavior change and encourage action. It is imperative that we
conserve our wildlife.
Partnerships with stakeholders in the East Africa region
and the media sector can inform policies, shape opinions and drive economies
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