NAIROBI, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is developing a new strategic framework to revitalize conservation of rhinos whose survival is at stake due to human and climatic threats, officials said on Tuesday evening.
KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi said that new rhino conservation measures hinge on technology adoption and robust community involvement.
"We are working on a raft of strategies that will be unveiled soon to strengthen conservation of rhinos in their habitat. The iconic mammals are still facing the threat of poaching due to their horn," Mbathi said during an event to green iconic statues of Black rhinos inside Nairobi National Park.
The Embassy of Ireland sponsored the greening of statues of two iconic rhinos, Kyela and Lankeu as part of global events to celebrate St Patricks Day.
Mbathi said the Kenyan wildlife agency has reached out to bilateral partners and private sector to raise awareness on the plight of rhinos whose numbers has shrunk due to poaching and illegal occupation of their habitat.
"As a country, we are lobbying the international community to oppose proposals in some quarters to legalize markets for rhino horns," said Mbathi, adding that massive public awareness in the source and destination markets for rhino horn is key to end their slaughter.
The population of rhinos in Kenya stood at 1,149 in 2016, down from 20,000 when the country attained independence from Britain in 1963.
According to the Deputy Director in Charge of Species at KWS, Patrick Omondi, Kenya has the third largest population of rhinos in the world after Namibia and South Africa.
Omondi noted that Kenya has managed to reverse loss of rhinos in the last two decades thanks to innovative conservation measures rolled out by the state and its bilateral partners.
"Plans are at an advanced stage to roll out the 2017-2020 recovery plan to increase the population of rhinos from the current figure of 1,149 to 2,000 in the next three years," said Omondi.