Kenyan wildlife conservationist Jim Nyamu, who embarked on a grueling 4000km walkathon has attracted the attention of the Zimbabwean government who invited him to Harare to engage him on efforts to raise awareness on the plight of elephants in Africa.
Nyamu, the founder and Director of Elephant Neighbors Center, a Non-Governmental Organization headquartered which promotes peaceful co-existence between elephants and communities, began his journey on July 14 in Kenya and passed through Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
After leaving Zimbabwe he will head to Botswana before finishing off his journey in South Africa. .
In an interview with CITE, Nyamu said he held a meeting with government officials on Tuesday where he briefed them on his mission.
“I have received tremendous goodwill support from the government,” he said.
“The fact that they have allowed me to walk through the country, conversing with community people, learning institutions, government officials among others while raising awareness is support enough.
“I’m grateful too for they have ensured my security by dispatching policemen to escort me on my walks.
“Members of the ruling ZANU-PF also gave me a warm welcome in Harare”.
Nyamu said he was keen on working with the government in dealing with the issue of poaching which has affected the elephant population in the country.
The Kenyan also met with officials from the British Embassy in Zimbabwe and they discussed issues pertaining to International Wildlife Trade (IWT).
He said they deliberated on the importance of having African elephants up-listed from Appendix 2 to Appendix 1 as a means to protect them.
According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Appendix II allowing trade as long as it is considered not detrimental to the species, while Appendix 1 prohibits all commercial trade and includes the most endangered animals.
“Four countries in Southern Africa that need to adhere to this are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe,” he noted.
“At least Botswana has already declared interest in undergoing the process and we hope the remaining three countries will be motivated to do the same”.
He added there is need to get support from funding partners to acquire resources, vehicles, aircraft and build capacity in the protection of the elephants.