Ethiopia has been undertaking activities that sustainably conserve wildlife and maximize economic benefits, according to the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority.
Authority Director-General, Kumera Wakjira told ENA that the country is carrying out the activities in compliance with the global framework.
Illegal wildlife trafficking is one of the challenges Ethiopia has been facing in its efforts to ensure effective wildlife conservation, he noted, adding that the authority is working to solve the problem through public and stakeholder participation and engagement.
“We have been trying to address the issue of livelihood, local community and stakeholders engagements, and enhancing sectorial and multi-sectorial engagement and approach, working closely with the local authorities, elders and influential community members.”
The country also faces absence of an integrated land use system that is affecting conservation of wildlife.
“Land is an issue and there are always clashes of interest, especially with wildlife management and conservation. We have protected areas set aside for wildlife protection, and then there is also an interest on the opposite side demanding those lands.”
The land demand includes, among others, settlement, cultivation, investment, and livestock, the director-general stated.
“We do hope that Ethiopia will have a properly defined land use system which leads all sectors toward integrated land use system and land management sooner than later because everything is on land and land is a critical factor for everybody. So one of the challenges in terms of running effective conservation is lack of land use system.”
According to Kumera, the authority is also applying strict control on illegal wildlife trafficking, in collaboration with the concerned stakeholders.
“We do have illegal wildlife trafficking problem. So, as per the challenges and then the problems, we have designed strategies in all aspects, bringing up integration and stakeholder engagement, especially community participation and addressing the livelihood issues of the local people, especially those neighboring the protected areas.”
The director-general further revealed that the authority is working with local stakeholders and neighboring countries to reverse illegal wildlife trade and trafficking.
“Illegal wildlife trade and trafficking is also a global problem, and to address this challenge we are just enhancing interagency cooperation. So, we closely work with law enforcement bodies, police, army, justice, court, customs, and airport; and then we are also trying to collaborate with neighboring countries through cross-border cooperation. We are closely working with Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, and South Sudan.”
Kumera underscored that there are a lot of efforts to reverse illegal wildlife trade and trafficking, but the challenge is underlying and very complex.
On the other hand, the authority is also maximizing the economic benefits of sustainable conservation and international trade by complying with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Ethiopia, which has been prized by the CITES secretariat for effective implementation, has animal and plant species listed by the CITES appendices and it is exporting animals, including birds, mammals amphibians, and reptiles, according to the director general.
“We have species listed by the appendices of CITES from Ethiopia. So we carry out trades on these flora and fauna with respect to the regulation, procedures, and the provisions of the convention. From each class, we have species permitted for international trade from birds, or mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.”
The authority has also been active in exporting animals through trophy hunting, it was learned. Ethiopia has more than 50 animals for trophy hunting.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency