.
 

INTERNATIONAL ACTION against the
Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo Project

WE WON ! THE COURT RULED FOR THE WILDLIFE TO STAY IN KENYA !

Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled and fled the country - still wanted today !

BUT WE ALL HAVE TO REMAIN VIGILANT CONCERNING THAI POACHING !

Please read the FORMER BREAKING NEWS !!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Intl. Alliance against the Kenya / Thailand wildlife deal

15.000 signatures were already handed over to the President of Kenya as well as to the Thai Government.

Please continue to support the struggle !

a) Boycott ALL Thai tourism, wares and services !
b) Send letters to Thai and Kenyan officials (see below) !
c) Join the International Alliance against the Kenya/Thai wildlife deal !

Please send your letters of support as well as copies of your protest-letters and information about your actions or suggestions to africanode(at)ecoterra.net
 
 
NO KENYAN WILDLIFE FOR THAILAND ZOO.
 
The Kenya and international coalition against the export of wildlife to Thailand, thousands of concerned Kenyans and NGO`s around the world strongly oppose the Kenya government’s intention to export nearly 200 of Kenya’s free-ranging wild animals to the Chiang Mai Night Safari zoo in Thailand.  We believe Kenya’s wildlife should remain in the wild in Kenya for the benefit of all Kenyans and all our guests from all over the world. Our wildlife is part of our magnificent national heritage.

Outlined below are the reasons behind our concerns:

  • While Thailand was nearly kicked out of the CITES Convention, Kenya has achieved international recognition and respect for its conservation policies that have directly led to an increase in wildlife based tourism. This move to export wild animals threatens to negate Kenya`s unique position and could lead to a damaging decline in tourist numbers.
  • Kenya has always guarded against the exportation of its flora and fauna. By exporting these 175 wild animals, Kenya will be supporting bio-piracy which it has always stood against. That would be a dangerous precedent.
  • Kenya’s wild animals have adapted to our local environment over millennia. There are very real dangers in taking them to an alien environment where they will be susceptible to potentially fatal diseases (Zoo tigers in Thailand have recently been hit by Avian Flu resulting in the death of around 100 animals), let alone the trauma of capture, break up of family groups, tranquilization, transportation which all amounts to unbearable and cruel distress.
  • The exercise of capturing animals, caging them, and transporting them over long distances is a procedure that should only be undertaken when absolutely necessary for the benefit of the animals. The capture of wild animals for overseas zoos, which will result in excessive stress on these animals and risks high mortality is neither essential nor necessary for the Kenya wildlife.
  • According to a report by the Department of Resource Survey and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) in 2004, Kenya ’s wildlife population declined by 40-60% between 1977 and 1994.  This massive decline is estimated to be, in all probability, even higher now, due to the rampant illegal bushmeat trade, excision of forests, and widespread encroachment into parks and reserves for human settlement.  We note with concern that no National Animal Census has taken place since this report, and figures given by the Government’s spokesman are thus unreliable.
  • The animals involved include endangered species in Appendix 2 of the CITES list such as Serval cat, Crowned cranes, Lesser flamingos and Hippopotamus. Other species include Gerenuks, Spotted hyenas, Silver backed jackals, Maasai giraffe, Reticulated giraffes, Topis, Impalas, Grant’s gazelles, Thompson’s gazelles, Wildebeests, Kirk’s dikdiks, Zebra, African buffaloes, Waterbucks, Warthogs and Greater kudus.  Many of these species are already under pressure from threats such as the bushmeat trade.
  • We understand that mahouts from Thailand may also come to Kenya to ‘train’ elephants. According to evidence that we have seen, such training of elephants frequently involves cruelty by beating the animals into submission. Kenya should not be part of such an abhorrent process.
  • Kenya has always endeavoured to alleviate human poverty and protect wild animals. Wildlife, through ecotourism, has the potential to create employment. With the streamlining of policy and legislation, more and more Kenyans stand to benefit from wildlife management as the best natural land use. A benefit they will be denied if Kenya’s wildlife is exported.
  • As Kenyans we need to promote tourism at home as opposed to tourism of Kenya’s animals elsewhere. We should encourage tourists to come and experience our country’s hospitality, the majesty of our diverse environments and the beauty of our wildlife for themselves - not take Kenya’s wildlife to another country to benefit that country at the expense of Kenyans.

We Kenyans and the international groups named hereunder are totally opposed to the export of wild animals from Kenya. We are therefore appealing to His Excellency the President to urgently reconsider this matter and rescind the decision by the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife – Morris Dzoro.
 
We are hereby calling to join hearts, minds and voices as well as resources and publicly call for a boycott of any trading with Thailand, to boycott any Thai products and services until the Thai Government publicly and officially denounces that it would not now and never again try to receive in any way wild animals from the wildlands of Africa for their zoo facilities

 

Local and International Organisations:

For and on behalf of the petitioners:

Intl. Alliance against the Kenya / Thailand wildlife deal

  1. ECOTERRA Kenya and ECOTERRA Intl.

  2. AfriCat Foundation

  3. Akha Heritage Foundation

  4. A.K.TAYLOR INTERNATIONAL Ltd.

  5. Amara Conservation Ltd.

  6. Amboseli Tsavo Conflict Resolution Committee

  7. Animal Asia Foundation

  8. Animal People

  9. Animal Protection Institute

  10. Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN)

  11. AWEER Trust

  12. As You Like It (Safaris) Ltd.

  13. BORN FREE USA and The Born Free Foundation UK

  14. CARE for the Wild

  15. Centre d'Ethique - Planète Vie

  16. Cheli & Peacock Safaris Ltd.

  17. Council for Human Ecology Kenya

  18. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

  19. Eastern Africa Environmental Network

  20. ECO ETHICS INTERNATIONAL UNION - NAIROBI CHAPTER

  21. African Environmental Outlook for Youth

  22. Foundation of Nairobi Hospice - Holland

  23. Galway Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  24. Godfrey Ole Ntapaiya

  25. Green Alive

  26. Humane Society International and Humane Society of the US

  27. Inner Connections Ltd.

  28. International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

  29. Japanese NGO - Maasai Project

  30. Keniahilfe e.V. - Germany / Kenya

  31. Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA)

  32. Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO)

  33. Kenya Natural Product Development Company Ltd.

  34. Kenya Society for the Protection & Care of Animals (KSPCA)

  35. Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Network

  36. Kipeto Landowners Association

  37. Kitengela Landowners Association

  38. Marchig Animal Welfare Trust

  39. NARC Youth Congress

  40. National CBO Council (registered Community-Based Organizations, Regional Private Voluntary Consortia, Non-Profit Voluntary Associations, Civil Society Organizations and Self-help Groups)

  41. OGIEK Trust

  42. Ol Kejuado National Resource Management Network

  43. ONE STOP YOUTH INFORMATION RESOURCE CENTER

  44. ONE VOICE - France

  45. Pastoralists Information Bureau

  46. Pegasus Foundation

  47. Pet Savers Foundation

  48. Simbani Trust

  49. Sunworld Safaris Ltd.

  50. The Born Free Foundation - Kenya

  51. The Kenya Human Wildlife Conflict Management Network

  52. The Windsome Constance Kindness Trust

  53. UTI K LTD

  54. WATHA Trust

  55. WildAid

  56. Wildlife Foundation of Thailand

  57. WINDROSE Intercontinental Travels

  58. World Society for the Protection of Animals

  59. Youth Center for Biodiversity Conservation

  60. Youth Environment Network - Kenya

  61. Youth for Conservation

  62. Youth Link

  63. YOUTH ORGANIZATION FOR A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT (YOCED)

(- and many more organizations and companies, who wanted to stay anonymous, because they fear repercussions from oppressive Kenyan or Thai officials).

COALITIONS & ALLIANCE CORE GROUP
Coalition for a Legal Injunction against the Kenya / Thailand wildlife deal

  1. ECOTERRA Kenya

  2. KSPCA - Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals

  3. Nairobi CBO Consortium

  4. Tom Ondiba Aosa

  5. ECO ETHICS INTERNATIONAL UNION - NAIROBI CHAPTER

  6. Inner Connections Ltd.

  7. Green Alive

  8. Godfrey Ole Ntapaiya

  9. Kenya Natural Product Development Company Ltd.

  10. NARC Youth Congress

  11. Ol Kejuado National Resource Management Network

  12. CHEK - Council for Human Ecology Kenya

For further contact and to support the coalition please email to: africanode(at)ecoterra.net

- interestingly: when the going got tough at the High Court only three parties of all the above remained steadfast and achieved the goal !

BOYCOTT

Boycott ( < please click this link ! ) all Thai corporations and companies, who do not publicly state that they oppose the deal. (Incl. THAI - the national airline and any company which has Thai governmental shareholding or backing - unless they give you a written statement that they oppose the Kenya/Thai wildlife deal.)

Please send your feedback: africanode@ecoterra.net

 

ACTION ALERT

YOUR ACTION !

We do not believe any more so much in signature lists, polite letters, fax or e-mail writing to those who are at the core of the problem, though these campaigns often are an important ad-on. (Therefore, if you got the time, please write to make your protest against these shady wildlife deals known – see addresses below)

However: What is the most important step to do?

Embark yourself with all your family and friends in a total boycott of Thailand and let them feel the heat in every business relationship, with every purchase, every management decision and any travel. They still might kill and eat up all the wildlife inside Thailand or spoil the natural habitat, but at least they will leave others in peace, if the resistance of peoples and in turn the decisions of their politicians as well as their governmental civil servants provides for and gives the right message to Thailand:

If YOU corrupt our leaders, steal our natural heritage and do nothing to prevent others – and here especially your own people - from doing so, WE have nothing in common and we will not have anything to do with YOU.

and

YOU continue with such and WE will discontinue having anything to do with YOU - and in addition WE will encourage others to stay away from YOU too.
No Thai contact, no Thai business!

“Made in Thailand” will then read for us as 

“Stuff it! – I DON’T BUY OR FLY THAI”

Letters of protest can be directed to:

His Royal Highness The King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej
Her Royal Highness The Queen of Thailand and 
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn 
Via the Royal Thai Embassy of your country 
 
His Excellency Pol. Lt. Col. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra
Prime Minister of Thailand
and
His Excellency Mr. Suchart Jaovisidha
His Excellency Mr. Suwat Liptapanlop
Deputy Prime Ministers of Thailand
via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Thai Government
through the Royal Thai Embassy / Consulate near you

Find the nearest Thai embassy or consulate via:

HERE : http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/Thailand

or at: 

http://www.mfa.go.th/web/10.php

e.g.
Botschaft des Koenigreiches Thailand in Berlin
Ihrer Exzellenz,
Frau Cholchineepan Chiranond,
Botschafterin
Lepsiusstrasse 64/66,
D-12163 Berlin
Tel. (+49 30) 79 48 10
Fax. (+49 30) 79 48 15 11

Email: general@thaiembassy.de  & Email. thaiber@mfa.go.th 

N.B.: 

H.E. L.T.AKRASID AMATAYAKUL The Thai Ambassador to Kenya is also Thailand's Representative to UNEP Direct e-mail: akrasida@mfa.go.th  or akrasida@saranrom.or.th  And copy to the embassy e-mail: thai@thainbi.or.ke 

Akrasid is Thailands Ambassador for the Environment to UNEP

Please copy all communication to the above also to:

Mr. Manop MEKPRAYOONTHONG,
Director
International Development Affairs Division
Department of International Organizations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sri Ayudhya Road
Bangkok 10400
Thailand
TEL: (66-2) 643-5077
FAX : (66-2) 643-5071

E-mail: div0805@mfa.go.th

Dr.Surakiart Sathirathai,
Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
via Department of South Asian Middle East and African Affairs
southasian@mfa.go.th  and via Department of International Organization interorg@mfa.go.th

Justice Minister Mr. Pongthep Thepkanjana via Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs treaties@mfa.go.th

Department of International Economic Affairs interecon@mfa.go.th

And since it takes two to Tango, you might also want to write to:

His Excellency
The Hon. Emilio Mwai Kibaki, C.G.H., M.P.

State House
P.O. Box 40530
Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +(254-20) 227411
Fax:  +(254-20) 210150,
+(254-20) 247808,
+(254-20) 337340
Telegrams: "RAIS"
E-mail: president@statehousekenya.go.ke 
E-mail: contact@statehousekenya.go.ke 
http://www.officeofthepresident.go.ke 

Minister for Tourism and Wildlife
Hon. Morris Dzoro, M.P. and
Assistant Minister for Wildlife
Hon. Richard Kalembe Ndile, M.P.
As well as: Permanant Secretary
Mrs. Rebecca Mwikali Nabutola, M.B.S.
Utalii House, Off Uhuru Highway
P.O. Box 30027, Nairobi
Tel. 333555, 313010 Fax. 318045
Telegrams: "UTALII"

Website: www.tourism.go.ke

Minister for Environment 
Prof. Kivutha Kibwana
Vice-Minister for Environment (not yet sworn in)
Hon. Prof. Wangari Maathai, M.P. (Nobel Prize Winner)
Maji House, Ngong Road 
P.O. Box 49720, Nairobi 
Tel. +(254-20) 716103 / 229261 
Telegrams: "MAJI"

Letters to Hon. Wangari Maathai can also be sent through: Greenbelt Movement gbm@iconnect.co.ke

Ministries without own e-mail can be addressed through the Kenya High Commission near you. see: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/kenya1.html  and http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/kenya3.html

Hon. Francis ole Kaparo
The Speaker of the National Assembly
P.O.Box 41842 - 00100 GPO
NAIROBI / Kenya
Phone: +254-(0)20-221291 Ext. 32000
Fax: +254-(0)20-336589
E-mail: bunge@swiftkenya.com

Mr. Julius Kipng'etich
Director KWS
Kenya Wildlife Service
Fax 254 20 603792
e-mail: director@kws.org
and kws@kws.org

Kenya Anti Corruption Commission
attn: Justice Ngera
Integrity House
Nairobi
e-mail: kacc@integrity.go.ke
phone: +254-20-35 17 50
+254-20-2 71 95 55
- 2 71 97 55
- 2 71 88 12

Permanent Secretary
Ethics and Governance
N.N. (Mr. John Githongo resigned)
N.B. This office has been scrapped altogether in December 2005,
but the e-mail still will go to the office of the president:

Office of the President
State House
Nairobi
e-mail: governance@wananchi.com
phone: +254-20-22 74 36

Demand that all wildlife captures in Kenya must have been approved also by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from:

The National Environment Management Authority NEMA
MICHECKA, Ratemo W., Director General
National Environment Management Authority
PO Box 67839
Nairobi
Kenya
TEL:  +254 2 609013
FAX : +254 2 608997
E-mail: dgnema@swiftkenya.com

and as a Kenyan citizen insist that all such operations must be transparent and prior informed consent be sought from the local communities.

Make clear in all your communications that you demand nothing less than a complete stop to the live wildlife exports, the illegal wildlife trade and the holding of wild animals in captivity.

Letters to the Press in Kenya can be sent to: John Mbaria, East African Standard: eastafrican@nation.co.ke

CONCERNING AUSTRALIA:

Email or fax the
The Minister for Environment & Heritage
Senator The Hon. Ian Campbell
to stop any wildife deals with Thailand
mailto: senator.ian.campbell@aph.gov.au 
Fax: (international code) +61+2+6273 6101
Tel: (international code) +61+2+6277 7640

Contact the Australian Embassy in your country and register your complain. see: http://www.ausmaps.com/embassy.htm  and www.ausmaps.com/embassy2.htm  

As taxpayer of a developed nation, please urge your government to halt any technical or financial development aid, deriving from your money as taxpayer, which is earmarked for Thailand, as long as the Thai Government spoils the money pressed from their own people by spending it for such wildlife concentration camps, since this is certainly not the way how Thailand could achieve to reach its targets to fulfil the worldwide agreed millennium goals. The 52 million US Dollar which were spent so far to create the wildlife confinement and nutcase entertainment centre in Chiang Mai would have been better spend on the victims of the Tsunami. Since Thailand seems to have all the money in the world to spend it for Night-Safari-Clubs, make sure that your donation and your governments contribution to the Tsunami fund for Thailand is redirected to countries like the Andamans, which really deserve it.

Please boycott all Thailand goods and services - incl. tourism and airlines - unless it is official that the Thais will abstain from the wildlife imports from Kenya, Australia or elsewhere.

But ask ALL to whom you write to provide proof that they have abstained from any plans to buy, hijack or steal; or otherwise to sell, trade, donate or transport any wild species to Thailand – especially not from the wildlands of impoverished African countries.
 
Thank you

ECOTERRA Intl.

Latest news and press releases about the Kenya / Thailand wildlife deal

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Nothing can be farer distant from true life of all creatures in Africa's Nature
than the reality of daily life in Thailand - a hell on earth, where every perversity
is available for money! Thailand - where even the most exotic lifeform is turned
into a dish for the ones who can't get any other kicks anymore.



Poem by Scott Jones

Some dude on a scooter
A wife in the rear
A baby on her shoulder
A cell phone in his ear
He cuts right in front of you
Gives you a heart attack
You want to kill this fool

You’re ‘bout to blow your stack
Say mai pen rai, say jai yen yen
You’ll go insane complainin’
It’s gonna happen
Again and again and again and again

The cook took your order
You’re dyin’ to eat
It’s taking forever
The cook is fast asleep
The waitress puts on lipstick
Then she combs her hair
You want to take your chopsticks
And shove them up her derriere

It needed repairing
You took it to the shop
When you ask how it’s doing
They say it’s in Bangkok

They smile and say “Tomorrow”
But tomorrow never comes
You’re sick and tired of yes means no
You wish you had a gun

Between a rock and a hard place
You return the grin
He’s about to lose face
’Cause you’re gonna smash it in

Say mai pen rai, say jai yen yen
You’ll go insane complainin’
It’s gonna happen
Again and again and again and again

 

Updates

 

10.01.2006

Animal Trade

Letter to the Editor of the East African Standard, Nairobi
(published only in the print edition of 10. Jan. 2006)

Dear Sir,

I was surprised to read Dr Loefler's article re trade in wildlife, especially as he is a former chairman of the East African Wildlife Society.

I do agree that there are some zoos in the world that are excellent, but they are few and even the "excellent" ones have grey areas where some species are concerned.

Captive bred animals can adapt well to a life in a zoo when they have known no other and they are allowed to indulge to some extent in their natural behaviour patterns, but wild trapped animals are different. Wild animals natural survival instincts tell them strongly to beware of man. The stress they go through during trapping, crating and being unable to flee from the proximity of man is enormous and should not be undertaken lightly and without good reason. Many animals die either during capture and transportation, or if they survive live very short unhappy lives in captivity.

I cannot agree with Dr Loefler that trade in wildlife increases their value and provides incentives for conservation. I have seen giraffes standing in pens in zoos looking listless and dejected, an orang utang in a small cage drinking its own urine much to the disgust of the people staring at it (they do not do that in their natural habitats), and other animals "just there", as my sons who grew up seeing animals in their natural habitat in Kenya, remarked when I took them to see a zoo in UK. To the majority of people zoos are an amusing day out nothing more. And scientific research can only be of real value in an animal's natural surroundings.

It is fashionable these days to critisise groups that speak up for animals' rights and welfare and who try to protect them from the excesses of mankind, perhaps because the truth of what they say makes people uncomfortable. It is true that some fanatics in the animal rights scene have gone overboard and to some extent take away from the credibility of serious animal welfare groups. However in our "only humans and profit matters" materialistic world, animals as sentient beings need a voice to protect them.

The private "zoo" in question in Thailand is in fact a fun park and from information gathered the animals will be under spotlights all night with lots of people staring at them. A nightmare for the poor beasts.

Wild animals belong in the wild. In zoos they lose their dignity and lustre. The attraction of game parks is animals in their natural surroundings living their natural lives, not just being able to say "I have seen a buffalo".

Talking about exporting wildlife to zoos and how it has benefited Kenya does not ring true. In fact wildlife films are what have brought most tourists to Kenya not animals in zoos. We should respect the wild animals and protect them as a valuable national heritage - and leave them alone.  The planet is not only for humans.

Jean Gilchrist,

Director of Animal Welfare,

KSPCA.
Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals

(N.B. Dr. Imre Loeffler tried to bring the trophy hunters of Safari Club International through the East African Wildlife Society back to Kenya).

 

24.12.2005

ECOTERRA Intl. was interviewed before for the BBC Thai Service, broadcasting into the most remote village in Thailand. We openly could speak our mind and believe that not only the Thai journalist-lady, who led the interview, got the message clearly but actually she and most of her listeners understood and became sympatic to the struggle.

We are very happy that our friends in Thailand stand as strong as the core group of the Coalition against the Thai Wildlife Deal in Kenya. The incident on Thai TV (see below) was reported widely in the Thai and Kenya media.

That Plodrasop, the henchman of PM Thaksin, who got blood on his hands not only from wild animals, became physically aggressive against our Thai friends and wildlife defenders, does not make us wonder. He has no words any more. We wonder only when finally HRH the King of Thailand puts some leach on this roge fellow and his master.

Blows traded over animals deal

DAILY NATION
Story by RICHARD CHESOS and Agencies
Publication Date: 12/24/2005

The controversy over the planned shipping of Kenya's wildlife to Thailand has spilled over to the benefiting country.

A television debate on the plan to move 175 animals to a zoo in northern Thailand ended in blows when proponents attacked animal welfare activists, officials said yesterday.

The scuffle came in the wake of protests by conservationists in Thailand opposed to the proposal to import the animals from Kenya to the Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo.

Their counterparts in Kenya have also opposed the deal.

On Tuesday, the High Court stopped the deal until a case by two wildlife conservation groups was heard.

Mr Justice Joseph Nyamu said the memorandum of understanding signed by ministers from the two countries might not amount to a treaty.

The controversial deal was sealed on November 9 by Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro and Thailand's Natural Resources and Environment minister Yongyut Tiyapairat.

President Kibaki and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra witnessed the signing of the deal at State House, Nairobi.

The wildlife debate was technically stopped in Kenya after the CBO Consortium and the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals moved to court last week.

However, in Thailand, as soon as the broadcast of the heated debate aired on Thursday night ended, two men rushed at two activists and punched them in the face, said Mr Nikom Putra, one of the conservationists.

The fracas lasted several minutes before studio workers could get the situation under control. 

Mr Putra said he planned to lodge a complaint with police.

Studio workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the zoo head, Prodprasob Surasawadee rose from his chair, pointing at the faces of the two conservationists and asking: "What do you want?"

Earlier, Kenya had said it would give the animals to Thailand as a gift to strengthen relations, but conservationists voiced concern about how the animals would be affected by the move. 

Local and international conservationists have also accused the Kenya government of shipping the animals abroad for money, something it has denied.

Among the animals set for export include buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, flamingoes, dik diks, impalas, warthogs, hyenas, antelopes, zebras and marabou storks.

Many Kenya-based conservationists have opposed the export of the wild animals, saying it is wrong for the country to sell its national heritage.

However, Thai ambassador to Kenya Akrasid Amatayakul said recently the deal would be effected only after it was approved by an international convention.

Activists 'assaulted by Plodprasop aides'

Tempers flare at TV debate on Night Safari

BANGKOK POST
http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/24Dec2005_news10.php
POST REPORTERS

Two conservationists yesterday complained they were assaulted by aides of Plodprasop Suraswadi, assistant to the minister of natural resources and the environment on Thursday night. Chaiyaphan Prapasawat, of the Love Chiang Mai Network, and Nikhom Puttha, of Wildlife Fund Thailand, said the incident took place after they had a heated debate with Mr Plodprasop over the controversial Night Safari project during a popular television programme, Tueng Look Tueng Khon, on Channel 9.

Mr Plodprasop attended the TV programme in his capacity as director of Night Safari. The debate focussed on the export of wildlife from Kenya which was eventually suspended by a Kenyan court.

As the programme was about to end, Mr Chaiyaphan read a poem, which imitated zoo animals wailing in distress at the night-time zoo. The activist said Mr Plodprasop was apparently offended by the poem, earlier published in Khao Sod newspaper.

As soon as the lights were dimmed, Mr Plodprasop and his aides stormed towards the two activists who were still seated. Mr Chaiyaphan said some of the aides scolded him and pushed him in the chest. Others dragged Mr Nikhom from his seat.

Before the fracas escalated, cameramen and TV crew stepped in and separated the two sides.

Mr Chaiyaphan said he and Mr Nikhom would be lodging a complaint with police yesterday evening. It was unclear if Mr Plodprasop was being implicated in the complaint.

The conservationist said he punched one of the men in self-defence.

''It appeared Mr Plodprasop wanted to assault me himself but his son stopped him from doing so. Why do we have an assistant to a minister with such violent behaviour?,'' said Mr Chaiyaphan.

The TV crew confirmed the assault, which was tape-recorded.

The crew also noted the number of Mr Plodprasop's aides was abnormally high at more than 10.

Mr Plodprasop could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Nikhom, meanwhile, urged senior state officials to show maturity when facing enquiries from the public. He said the public had every right to learn what the state was doing, adding the Night Safari project, in particular, was questionable in many respects.

Meanwhile, the Love Chiang Mai Network condemned Mr Plodprasop and his aides for their gangland-style behaviour. It also called on the TV crew who witnessed the incident to hand over their tape to authorities for further investigation.

The Love Chiang Mai Network would also file a complaint with the Administrative Court, asking it to suspend the project until its environmental impact was thoroughly studied.

Ministry served court orders barring Thai deal

KENYA TIMES
22. 12. 2005

By Vincent Musumba

TOURISM and Wildlife assistant Minister Kalembe Ndile was yesterday served with a court injunction halting the intended translocation of 175 wild animals to Thailand.

Ndile was served by lawyer Ojwang’ Agina of Agina and Company Advocates and National CBO Council chairman, Tom Aosa.

The event took place at the ministry’s Utalii House offices at 3 pm.

An anxious Ndile said the matter would be forwarded to the Attorney-General for advice.

However, he was reluctant to stamp the court order papers.

Said Ndile: “We will not hurry to make a decision because of the impending case. The papers are in good hands.”

National CBO Council chair, Tom Aosa described the court order as ‘the best end-year gift to all Kenyans and a reason to celebrate Christmas.’

“By obtaining the order we have achieved a tremendous leap towards achieving the goal of halting this insult to our delicate biodiversity. We won’t allow our animals to be mistreated”, he noted.

He promised not to relent until justice is done and added that the court’s decision was a clear indication that someone was listening to them.

The order stays for sixty days, during which period the government cannot move or export the animals.

The translocation was supposed to take place immediately after the signing of the memorandum.

A ruling on Tuesday by High Court judge Justice Joseph Nyamu ordered that the application be certified as urgent.

Kalembe gets court order halting Thai wildlife deal

Daily Nation
Story by NATION Correspondent
Publication Date: 12/22/2005

Assistant minister Kalembe Ndile has been served with a court order halting the export 175 wild animals to Thailand.

The deal has been put on hold until a case by two wildlife conservation groups, the National CBO Consortium and the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, is heard.

A Nairobi-based advocate, Mr Ojwang Agina, served the order on Mr Ndile at his Utalii House office at 3 pm yesterday.

Mr Agina, who was accompanied by the consortium's chairman, Mr Tom Aosa, had first walked into the ministry's spokesman's office where he was told that Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro was not in and could therefore not be served with the order.

The two then walked into Mr Ndile's office where Mr Agina served the Wildlife assistant minister with the order.

Rubber-stamp document

Mr Agina requested Mr Ndile to rubber-stamp it as proof that he had received it. To which Mr Kalembe retorted: "I don't need to rubber-stamp the document since these journalists are recording the event...They are my witnesses that I have received it".

Mr Agina then drew Mr Ndile's attention to a penal notice in the order which stated that if Mr Dzoro disobeyed the order, then he would be held in contempt of court and action would be taken against him. The lawyer said he was pleased to meet Mr Ndile and wished him a merry Christmas .

The order was granted by Judge Joseph Nyamu on Tuesday after saying he was satisfied that the memorandum of understanding between Kenya and Thailand might not amount to a treaty. Courts cannot review treaties unless the provisions are incorporated in Kenyan laws or passed as Acts of Parliament.

Mr Dzoro and Thai Natural Resources and Environment minister Yongyut Tiyapairat signed the animal transfer deal on November 9.

Thai wildlife deal stopped

KENYA TIMES
21. 12. 2005

By John Osoro

THE High Court yesterday barred the government from translocating 175 animals to the Kingdom of Thailand.

The court put on hold the intended translocation pending the hearing of an application by a group of wildlife conservationists.

Justice Joseph Nyamu said the applicants had raised “an arguable case that needs to be heard” before the action by the concerned ministry commence.

The judge agreed with the applicants’ submissions that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into between the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and its Thailand counterpart cannot be translated into a treaty.

He said the MoU does not make any references to any of the international laws in its guideline for implementation.

Justice Nyamu granted the leave period for 60 days, which would be extended depending on the defendants’ wish in their defence.

Unless the issues raised by the conservationists groups are heard inter partes and determined, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife shall remain barred from implementing the said MoU.

The lobby group says in their application that the MoU signed by the parties violated the laws of environmental and conservation management.

The applicants - Self Help Community Based Organisation (CBO) and Kenya Society for the Protection of Care for Animals - says that the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) had no powers to enter into an agreement with the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand over the translocation of the animals.

The conservationists, say the defendants, had breached the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Court halts Thai wildlife export deal

Standard, Nairobi

21. 12. 2005
By Judy Ogutu

The High Court has halted the controversial export of animals to Thailand.

Justice Joseph Nyamu issued temporary orders suspending the deal, signed at State House, Nairobi, on November 9. President Kibaki and Thailand Prime minister Thaksin Shanawatra’s signed a deal under which 175 wild animals were to be shipped to the Asian country.

The then Foreign Affairs minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of Kenya and his Thailand counterpart Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon on behalf of his country.

Nyamu’s order will be operational for 60 days and the court reserves the discretion to extend it. He also gave the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals and two lobbies the go-ahead to seek orders prohibiting the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife from shipping the animals to the Asian country.

The animals include giraffes, flamingoes, hippos, zebras, warthogs, dik-diks, impalas, buffaloes, gazelles, hyenas and jackals.

Nairobi CBO Consortium and Thomas Ondiba Aosa were also given the green light to seek for orders quashing the decision to export the assorted game.

When the matter came up first, Justice Nyamu said the MoU signed between the two countries was a treaty. He postponed the hearing to give all parties an opportunity to satisfy the court whether the MoU was a treaty.

The minister and the Kenya Wildlife Services, an interested party, did not attend the hearing on Tuesday, forcing the court to proceed without them. The applicants, through their lawyer, Mbugua Mureithi argued that the MoU was not a treaty.

A treaty, he added, was an international agreement between states and was governed by international law.

"The object of the treaty is to create binding relations between the parties to it. The MoU is non-binding. The scope of co-operation is subjected to laws of the respective countries in accordance with regulations in force," Mureithi said.

The deal, he added, was an arrangement for mutual development assistance.

Nyamu said the applicants had, on prima facie basis, satisfied the court that the agreement between the two nations might not be a treaty.

The three filed the suit on December 14, saying the minister had commenced steps to identify, capture and move the assorted wildlife animals pursuant to the MoU where the minister undertook to move the animals for custody in zoos in Thailand.

While giving the orders, the judge also directed them to file and serve the application as prescribed. He warned that failure to do so, the order would lapse.

Court halts animal sale to Thailand

DAILY NATION, Nairobi
Story by JILLO KADIDA
Publication Date: 12/21/2005

The High Court yesterday stopped the deal to export 175 wild animals to Thailand until a case by two wildlife conservation groups is heard.

Granting the order, Judge Joseph Nyamu said he was satisfied the memorandum of understanding between Kenya and Thailand might not amount to a treaty.

The 60-day order arose from an application by the National CBO Consortium and the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals, who demanded a stop to relocating assorted animals to Thai zoos in line with a reported deal between ministers of the two countries.

When the case was filed last week, the judge declined to order a stop, saying the court was not keen on interfering with a treaty.

The court could not review treaties between countries, unless the provisions are incorporated in Kenyan laws or passed as Acts of Parliament, he ruled.

The controversial deal was sealed on November 9 by Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro and Thai Natural Resources and Environment minister Yongyut Tiyapairat. 

And despite protests by local and international wildlife conservationists – who said the transfer would violate the animals' welfare – it was signed at State House, Nairobi, as President Kibaki and Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra watched.

Lawyer Mbugua Mureithi told the court that wildlife conservation and management was legally under the Kenya Wildlife Service, and that the minister was required only to give general or special directions to KWS. "The national heritage should not be left to the disposal of one person or one arm of government," he argued.

The deal was signed without consulting the KWS, Parliament, other interested organs and the public, he said, adding that identifying and capturing the animals had begun.

Yesterday Mr Justice Nyamu noted that the issues raised by the applicants were of national importance. 

After hearing both parties, the judge said the applicants had argued points which defined treaties, and had argued that only KWS was authorised to say whether the animals can be exported.

Breaking News:

German Text / Text in Deutsch

KENYA WILDLIFE WILL HAVE PEACE

by Correspondents

WTN - 20. December 2005 - 11h00 - Nairobi -

The steadfast core group of the Kenya Coalition and the International Alliance Against the Kenya/Thailand Wildlife Deal achieved a major breakthrough this morning at the High Court in Nairobi / Kenya:

The court ruled, that the Kenyan Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, who signed the deal to export 175 wild animals from the free wildlands of Kenya into a fun-fair and zoo facility in Thailand, as well as the Kenya Wildlife Service, who would have to do the job, can not lay their hands on the wildlife and can not capture or export any wildlife to Thailand. Likewise any other capture or export by owners of private wildlands or ranches would be illegal.

The coming festive season will not see capture-gangs combing the world famous wildlands of Kenya with their splendid savannas and woodlands and unique wildlife populations for easy prey. The peaceful nature will not be disturbed by helicopters with darting vets on board. And the defenders of wildlife also can stay in peace - at least for the near future.

.... continued


---------------
If you want to receive this free article in full as well as further insider information on this issue, please e-mail to africanode(at)ecoterra.net or reply to this mail with Request Thai Info in the reference line.

Maasai Stage Protest Over Thai Wildlife Gift

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

December 17, 2005
Posted to the web December 16, 2005

Wanjiru Macharia, Nairobi

More than 500 members of the Maasai community yesterday held a demonstration in Narok to protest the Government's decision to export 175 wild animals to Thailand.

They said they were the gatekeepers of the wild animals since they had lived with and protected them since time immemorial and asked the government to consult the concerned communities before proceeding with the scheme.

Waving twigs and chanting anti-Government slogans, the group said the State should not take any animals from Narok District for the deal.

The chairman of the Narok Communities pressure group, Mr Moses Nkoriompai, said the Government had ran out of ideas on how to make money and had turned to selling off the national heritage.

He said the Government was reneging on its policies on wildlife conservation, and warned that exporting game would damage Kenya's reputation and lead to a decline in tourist numbers.

Addressing the demonstrators at Oloontoto Primary School in Rereshwa near the Maasai Mara Game Park, Nkoriompai said exporting the animals would be biopiracy.

Reading a memorandum signed by 15,000 residents of Narok District, the chairman said it was wrong to shut up a free-range animal in a zoo.

He said the process of capturing wild animals, caging them and transporting them over long distances was a procedure that should only be undertaken when absolutely necessary.

He said the process could result in excessive stress to the animals and even death.

Sidney Quntai, the chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Network, said the notion that there were excess animals in the country was wrong.

He said the wild animal population has been falling over the years due to illegal bush meat trade, encroachment on parks and reserves and excision of forests.

According to a report by the Department of Resource Survey and Remote Sensing in 2004, Kenya's wildlife population declined by 40 to 60 per cent between 1977 and 1994, said Quntai.

He said the massive decline is estimated to be higher due to increased human populations and activities in the animal areas.

"Kenya's wildlife has evolved in our environment for hundreds of thousands of years and it is dangerous to take the animals to alien lands where they are likely to be susceptible to fatal diseases," he said.

Quntai said the Government should encourage tourism in the country to fight poverty instead of promoting its growth elsewhere.

Link: http://allafrica.com/stories/200512160518.html

Decisive step ahead against Kenya/Thai wildlife deal

- Kenyans, incl. two Kenyan organizations, went to court to stop the dreadful wildlife deal with a Thai fun-fair zoo -

WTN
- correspondents - Nairobi / Bangkok - 14.12.2005

"Enough is enough!", said Kenyans, and have now applied to the courts in Nairobi, Kenya to end the dreadful saga about the ill-conceived wildlife deal with a Thai zoo, which is based on a simple and not legally binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between two ministers. Such a declaration of intent, however, can not be misinterpreted as an international treaty between the two states, as some might try to suggest in order to derail the process against the deal or to helplessly safe the face of government officials.

A treaty is a legally binding agreement under international law concluded by subjects of international law, namely states. A treaty is for example the long-running treaty for British soldiers to train in Kenya, which is just now in a stage, where a majority of Kenyan parliamentarians question if Kenya should prolong it. 

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a legal document describing an agreement between parties. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement, but less formal than a contract.

Examples of simple MoUs - like the Kenya/Thailand deal - include e.g.the Oil for Food program, for which Iraq signed a MoU in 1996, and which has seen a senior UN official being suspended for corruption as well as the son of UN Secretary General Kofi A. Annan being implicated, and which has therefore undergone many changes to the original text. The recently signed Kenya/Thailand MoU therefore can likewise easily be amended or relieved of certain parts - like the now contested wildlife deal contained therein.

The Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA) and the Council of Community Based Organizations (CBO Council), both representing the majority of Kenyan citizens who are against the capture of free ranging wild animals from the Kenya wildlands and their deportation into the man-made confinement within a disputed Thai fun-fair facility, must be applauded for this step, because they actually also contribute in terms of control of damage to the reputation of both countries. But as further this issue is pushed by certain government officials in the service of either side of the deal, as more economic and  face loss is created.

The constant and desperate pushing by the Thai Ambassador to Kenya, however, to get the Kenyan governance moving in terms of capturing now 175 wild animals for the Thai night zoo in Chiang Mai against the will of the Kenyan people is contradicting what Thai Senator Senator Pensak Chagsuchinda (Howitz) stated publicly during her visit to the country. The Senator, who was accompanied by Senator Niboon Shamshoum on a fact finding mission, had proclaimed profoundly that it was not in the interest of the Thai Government to insist on getting wildlife delivered from Kenya.

The senators admitted that their Prime Minister was looking for animals for that private facility in Chianmai, in which he has personal stakes, but they declared that, if the Kenyan people were not in agreement, they would not force the "donation" and would advise the Thai senate to restrict their PM in his dealings of such kind. Apparently the opposite of what was laid out by the senators is true and therefore the persistent pressure by the Thai official shows nothing less than the disrespect of the will of the Kenyan people. That certainly is not a good base for the proclaimed "friendship" between the two so different states and their people.

That the Kenyan people are ready to stand up for their wildlife has been not only clearly shown by the numerous protest rallies of various peoples in the country and the present legal challenge but even through a TV documentary delivering the numerous arguments of the wildlife conservation groups, which was aired by Reuters also into the far corners of Thailand and therefore made it known to the Thai people themselves. Even though the Thai senators did not succeed to have their PM reprimanded by the senate so far, the Thai organizations are urged to step up their side of the protest and to support the head of the Thai senate's environmental committee, Kaewsan Atipho, who want their house to become clean and to scrap the wildlife deal.

The wanted friendship between the people of both countries involved is also not changed with fake "letters to the editor", publicizing in local newspapers the opinion of staged pro-deal supporters allegedly writing from China or elsewhere. All the manipulation will only worsen the rift between the people of Kenya and Thailand and bring more supporters to the internationally called for boycott of Thailand's wares and services.

In order to show their real friendship with the people of Kenya, the Thai governance should have since long stopped to pressurize the Government of Kenya for these animals from the wild, not at least because the Kenyans actually have different and more severe problems at this time after a referendum rejected the proposed new constitution and a deep rift between governance and people's will.

The Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, who had received during the last 10 days twice delegations from the international and the national consortia of organizations, who stand and protest against that deal, had in addition to the numerous legal, ethic, economic, and moral arguments against the proposal outlined in the MoU, to hear eye-witness reports from people who actually had visited the Thai zoos and reported that animals are kept there under the most horrible conditions. One witness spoke of the worst zoo ever  she visited anywhere in her entire life and that in Thailand she saw even a majestic tiger, who was not only just kept in a tiny cage, where he couldn't turn, but in addition was chained inside that cell.

The arguments against that shabby Kenya/Thai wildlife-deal are numerous and the background of the whole story are at least dubious, as one can study on the website of an international wildlife protection organization:
http://www.ecoterra-international.org/sites/anti-chiangmai-night-zoo-1.htm

If the Thais really wanted to show true friendship to the Kenyans, they would abstain from insisting on the wildlife-deal outlined in that memorandum, which hangs like the sword of Damocles over the wild animals of Kenya in their free wildlands. The Thai government representatives could concentrate on actually helping Kenya without such shady deals and without that they force poor local organizations to engage in costly and time consuming campaigns and legal battles to restrain those who believe they could get benefits out of  Kenyan wildlife, captured from the wild and confined to a life behind bars or early death due to neglect and distress during the shipment as well as inside Thailand.

And if the Thai people really would care about the plight of Kenyans and their state they would by all means stop their government officials to engage in such shameful exercises and force them to offer true help without selfish and greedy agendas. Kenyans therefore hope that their true soul-mates in Thailand will now likewise turn up the heat and force the Thai officials to come clean.

Kenyans stand as one people against the capture of even one animal from the wildlands of Africa and its transfer into that night-zoo in Thailand, like they stand against the capture and transport of any African girl into a brothel in Bangkok. The abduction of wild animals from Kenya to Thailand also must be seen in the context of bio-piracy and openly violates the Biodiversity Convention, which actually is a treaty to which both countries are signatories.

Kenyans feel that it would be the biggest shame to allow such also because 19 men on official duty to defend Kenyan wildlife were felled by the merciless bullets of unscrupulous wildlife killers and murderers since 1990 alone and many more in the years before. The death of these honourable men would have been meaningless and useless, if what they defended on behalf of all Kenyans and the natural world heritage at large, could just be signed away today.

Kenyans do also not support the shady deals of some politicians on both sides either, who seem to have an additional, hidden agenda in their co-operation and they speak out against those Kenyan parliamentarians, who just want to buy for Kenya a seat at the UN Security Council and try for this task to gain the support of foreign civil servants by intransparent measures like "pleasing" Thai officials with the signing away of Kenyan wildlife into a private zoo in Chiangmai. And neither do they support the apparent private business-relationships of officials like Thai PM Thaksin, who in his business life is a mobile phone and communications tycoon, with former Kenyan Communications Minister Raphael Tuju, who was now even promoted as Minister of Foreign Affairs by the embattled NARC government of Kenya's President Kibaki.

But while in Thailand even His Royal Highness The King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej has granted leave to his citizens to criticize Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, already death-threats are issued in Kenya to people, who only defend their natural heritage and stand against the cruel export of wildlife from their homelands into an appalling zoo-facility in Thailand, which triggered an international call to boycott Thailand over this.

The boycott of Thailand - that is for sure - and maybe in future also Kenya has gained now another boost.

© WTN 2005

Picture: © Copyright ECOTERRA Intl.

Groups contest Thai wildlife deal

Kenya Times
15. 12. 2005

By John Osoro

WILDLIFE conservationists yesterday moved to court seeking to stop the government from translocating 175 animals to the Kingdom of Thailand.

The lobby groups want a memorandum of understanding entered into between the government of Kenya and Thailand stayed until their application is heard and determined.

The applicants — Self-Help Community Based Organisation (CBO) and Kenya Society for the Protection of Care for Animals — say that the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife and Kenya Wildlife Service had no powers to enter into an agreement with the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand over the translocation of the animals.

The conservationists say in their suit papers that the defendants had breached the Wildlife Conservation Act by allowing to donate and translocate the wildlife to a foreign country.

The plaintiffs in their application filed under a certificate of urgency say the respondents undertook to offer the animals without following the laid down procedures as contained in the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999.

The Act provides that the government of Kenya ought to have assessed the impact caused by the translocation on the biological diversity on the parks and other areas where the animals might be removed to.

They say that the respondents ought to have submitted such report to National Environmental Management Authority as required under the Act.

The suit supported by an affidavit by the CBO Chairman Mr Tom Ondiba Aosa, further points out that the action by the defendants to donate and translocate the animals to zoos in the Kingdom of Thailand contravenes the International Trade in Endangered Species of wildlife.

He said the agreement was entered without following the procedures that regulate translocation of such animals from their natural habitat.

When the applicants appeared before Justice Joseph Nyamu, they sought the court’s intervention over the purported MoU entered into between Kenyan Minister for Tourism and his counterpart from Thailand.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyer Mbugua Mureithi, submitted that procedure was not followed when the said MoU was signed.

Justice Nyamu, however, ordered the applicants to serve the application to the respondents and directed that the matter be heard inter partes on December 20.

Mr Aosa says that the defendants ought to have obtained approval from Parliament before the deal could be entered.

The applicant further wants the decision entered on November 9, 2005 be stopped until the suit filed against the respondents is heard and determined.

----------

Lobbies ask court to stop wild animals deal

Daily Nation
Story by WAHOME THUKU
Publication Date: 12/15/2005

Two wildlife conservation lobby groups have moved to court to stop the export of wild animals to Thailand.

Nairobi CBO Consortium, and Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals filed an application at the Nairobi High Court and were allowed to sue the Government over the deal.

But the court declined to grant their request to stop relocation of assorted animals to Thai zoos over an agreement between the two countries.

After hearing the submissions by their lawyer, Mr Mbugua Mureithi, judge Joseph Nyamu said the court would not be keen to interfere with a treaty between two countries.

The court could not review treaties between countries unless the provisions were incorporated in the Kenyan laws or passed as Acts of Parliament, he ruled.

The controversial agreement was sealed on November 9 by Tourism and Wildlife minister Morris Dzoro and the Thai minister for Natural Resources and Environment Yongyut Tiyapairat. It was signed despite protests by the local and international wildlife conservationists, who claimed the transfer would violate the animals' welfare. 

It was signed at State House, Nairobi, in the presence of President Mwai Kibaki and Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Mbugua told the court that the conservation and management of the wildlife was legally under the Kenya Wildlife Service and the minister was only required to give general or special directions to the KWS director.

"The national heritage of this country should not be left to the disposal of one person or one arm of the Government," he argued.

He said the deal was signed without consulting the KWS, Parliament, other interested organisations or the public.

The process of identifying and capturing the animals for export to Thailand had began, the court heard.

Judge Nyamu noted that the issues raised by the applicants were of national importance. He asked them to serve the documents to the minister and the KWS so that the other parties could go and argue on how the court would treat the memorandum. The case will be heard on December 20.

Picture: © Copyright ECOTERRA Intl.

Groups sue over Thai game deal

Standard
Wednesday December 14, 2005

By Judy Ogutu and Renson Mnyamwezi

Controversy surrounding the decision to export 175 animals to a zoo in Thailand has spilled over to the courts.

The Kenya Society for the Protection and Care for Animals and two other organisations have filed a suit seeking to stop the deal.

The three applicants want the court to issue an order temporarily stopping the deal reached in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Governments on November 9, 2005.

The lobby group, Nairobi CBO Consortium and Thomas Ondiba Aosa wants the court to give them the go-ahead to seek for orders prohibiting the Minister of Tourism and Wildlife from shipping the animals to the Asian country. The Kenya Wildlife Service was named in the suit as an interested party.

The applicants also want the court’s permission to quash the decision to export the assorted animals from Kenya to Thailand.

In an urgent application, their lawyer Mbugua Mureithi says the minister has commenced steps to identify, capture and move the animals.

Justice Joseph Nyamu declined to issue any orders, but directed the parties to serve the suit papers and appear before him on December 20 for an inter parties hearing.

Meanwhile more than 1,000 residents of Mwatate Division in Taita Taveta District on Wednesday demonstrated against the intended export of the animals.

Led by Youths for Conservation Programme official, Joseph Righa, the residents asked President Kibaki to shelve the programme and consult widely.

‘’Tourism is an integral part of Kenya’s economy and we must keep our wildlife as protected heritage for our own benefits,’’ said Mr Wilson Mwangombe, the Kenya Wildlife and Conservation and Management Network co-ordinator.

http://www.eastandard.net/print/news.php?articleid=33662

Kalembe should stay off the “Thai animal deal”

PRESS RELEASE: Sunday, December 11, 2005

The newly appointed Assistant Minister for Wildlife Hon. Richard Kalembe Ndile is well known for flouting the golden rule of silence. By engaging his questionable sanity in commenting on matters he knows so little about, he leaves no doubt that he has little or no academic breeding. With all due respect, the appointment of such a person into the sensitive docket of wildlife, is an insult to the communities that have fought so hard and engaged in collective conservation effort.

His spiteful remarks on the day of his appointment is proof that his work ethics have been groomed by the streets and the manner of disseminating his duties is uncouth, uncivil, and inconclusive.

Kalembe’s elevation to such a sensitive docket should have been a point of information to his intelligent self that his street days of illiterate philosophies are over. He should have probably been oriented into a new kind of responsible thinking to prepare him for the duty of serving Kenyans.

Hon. Kalembe should at least be wise enough to steer clear the scandalous wild life sale that is being masqueraded as a “gift’ or he will find his hands mired in the pools of mud he knows so little about.

In addition, he should have been by now aware that his statements are reflective of government policy and any more garbled utterances will be construed as the final government word.

New Developments in the "Animal for Aid Scandal"

Hon Kalembe Ndile blatant ignorance of issues preceding and developing through the Thai Animal Export deal makes him oblivious of the fact that his boss, the Minister of tourism Hon. Morris Dzorro, had no mandate to sign the MOU with the government of Thailand, since in his capacity he did not consult extensively with parliament, the peoples representatives and community based conservation groups, the community’s pointers of conservation effort.

In our first communiqué from the Ministry of Tourism, the government promised to consult widely before committing the country to this deals. It later emerged in the public forums that even the pre-analysis in Thailand conducted by the delegation led by the Permanent Secretary and the KWS representatives were half baked and Scandalous. It is in the public Domain that Thai’s Zoos are ranked lowest in the treatment of Animals. These Zoos have often been mentioned in scandals of international magnitude, to the extent of CITES almost Expelling Thai from its membership.

Since the government sought not to consult parliament or the public, on whose behalf did the Hon. Minister enter an agreement with Thailand ? Opinions poll conducted by a credible firm recently provided 69% against the Thai Deals.
The government has refused to quantify the economic gains we stand to accrue through this deal. It is noted that President Kibaki is as keen to pound his authority on the Kenyan community as his Thai counterpart Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who has evicted the Akha tribe from their own heritage to build his Zoo.

Kenyans will not tolerate such dictatorial tendency and the National CBO Council will marshal all like minded forces to coordinate both legal redress and a mass protest of communities.

Let the Government know especially through Hon. Kalembe Ndile, that communities will not sleep and all Consortium members will keep watch until the government recede its decision to sell off our Precious heritage.

Cabinet appointments a National ignominy

After subjecting Kenyans to two weeks of waiting with bated breath, Kibaki’s Reconstituted Cabinet is a big disappointment. The expectation that President Kibaki will reconstitute a cabinet adorned with integrity and professionalism must have been far fetched. He never, even by a stride, departed from the practice of his predecessors of using cabinet appointments as rewards to sycophants and cronies towing the executive line.

The promise that the development agenda will be prioritized over any other consideration; is a mirage that has been shifting since the initial promise of a lean professional cabinet. The unveiling of the new cabinet and the fact that it is bedeviled by a handful of people of questionable integrity: marred by scandalous individuals, dragged by old retirees and subjected to people who have strangled the voice of reason by their sheer arrogance; is proof that Kibaki, by a stroke of the pen, has returned us to the dark days of political patronage.

Hence the dictates of common sense informs us to expect no record breaking development, but an uneasy quite rule of a cabinet overshadowed by the fear of expressing contrary opinion for dread of a backlash.

The bulk of the new Kibaki team is a congregate of sycophants, conformists, semi-literate and incompetent distorted loyalists. Their only qualification is their false allegiance to the unpopular Wako Draft.
Is this the team that is expected to deliver?

Signed by
TOM AOSA
NATIONAL CHAIRMAN

for: NATIONAL CBO COUNCIL MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS

The Chairman National Community Based Organisations (CBO) Tom Aosa (left) addresses journalists at their Nairobi offices yesterday. Seated right is a council member Waiganjo.
Picture by Cornelius Madiga

Fury at Kenya wild game shipment

11.11.2005

Conservationists are furious that Kenya has signed a deal with Thailand to hand over some 175 animals from game parks.

Kenyan authorities stressed none of the animals, including zebra, hippos and giraffe, would be endangered species.

But animal rights groups fear for the welfare of the animals during the 7,200km (4,470-mile) journey.

Thailand has agreed to provide wildlife management training and technical support. The Kenyan press is calling the deal the "animals-for-aid" scandal.

The International Animal Fund for Animal Welfare says selling off "Kenya's national heritage" was setting a dangerous precedent.

'Stress and injury'

Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told Reuters news agency that they were animals that the country had in abundance.

He said no rhinos or any animals protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) would be sent to Thailand.

He gave no date for the shipment's departure, but said the number of animals had been reduced from the 300 initially planned.

The animals will be sent to a zoo in the home town of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which is scheduled to open in April.

The deal was announced during Mr Shinawatra's official visit to the east African state, the first ever by a Thai prime minister.

Animal rights groups fear that the deal - reported to be worth $500,000 will put the wild animals' lives at risk and may threaten Kenya's tourist trade.

"We are concerned about the welfare of the animals, and the stress and risk of injury and death in their capture and transportation," Alice Owen of the London-based Born Free Foundation told Reuters news agency.

Wildlife deal with Thailand clarified

DAILY NATION
Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date: 11/11/2005

The Government yesterday laid bare the memorandum of understanding signed between Kenya and Thailand over the sale of 175 wild animals.

It published a list of the 24 species involved and moved to dispel fears that it was giving away endangered species such as black rhinos, lions, leopards and cheetahs, which had sparked protests from animal conservationists.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua gave out the list yesterday at a news conference in his KICC office and listed a number of economic benefits that Kenya would gain from the deal.

Among these are the hiring of English teachers from Kenya and the decision by the Thai government to use Kenya as its economic hub for Africa.

He also published the MoU and list of species on the newly launched Government spokesman's web site www.communication.go.ke for anyone wishing to check it. 

According to the list, species to be exported include; topi, silver backed jackal, serval, lesser flamingo, warthogs, yellow billed storks, Maasai giraffes, reticulated giraffes, common zebras, greater kudu, marabou stork (juvenile), common waterbuck, impala, Grant's gazelles, Thompson's gazelles, crowned cranes, wildebeest, spotted hyenas, hippopotamus, Kirk's dik dik, gerenuk and buffalo.

( please see our COPY of  the MEMORANDUM BETWEEN KENYA AND THAILAND !! )

Not undermining tourism

He said the Government had taken into consideration issues raised by conservationists and viewed them against the views of its own experts before arriving at the decision.

"We are not undermining our tourism sector. To the contrary, we expect a boom from Thailand. Wakionja kidogo (when they taste it a little), they will want to see the animals in their natural habitat and in their thousands," he said.

Dr Mutua told reporters that the Government had considered the population of the species offered as gifts and the economic value Kenya stood to gain in making the decision.

"The animal list is made up of herbivorous animals. Endangered species such as lions, leopards, the rhino, elephants and others are not being given. We are giving them animals which we have plenty of," the spokesman said.

He gave a brief list of the numbers being considered for some of the prominent species included in the gift.

While Thailand will foot the cost of sending the animals to the Far East, Kenya Wildlife Service experts will oversee their relocation to ensure that the animals are comfortable in transit and in their new home in Thailand.

Kibaki under fire over wild animals deal

DAILY NATION, Nairobi
Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 11/11/2005

Outrage over the sale of Kenya's wildlife to Thailand grew yesterday with one prominent minister demanding that President Kibaki calls a Cabinet meeting to discuss the issue.

Other MPs urged President Kibaki to suspend the deal until Parliament reconvened to debate the sale.

Cabinet minister William ole Ntimama said such an important decision should not have been left to the President and the minister for Tourism.

"This is not a simple matter; it is a matter of international magnitude and an individual should not be left to make such a big decision alone," he said. 

And MP Mutula Kilonzo accused the President of taking Kenyans for granted.

Mr Ntimama, a minister of State, spoke out as visiting Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had to be smuggled past conservationists protesting at the deal, when he opened an exhibition at Nairobi's Village Market.

The conservationists were joined by members of local communities who carried placards complaining about the agreement, which will see 175 wild animals sold to a zoo in Thailand for an estimated Sh80 million.

Police had allowed the demonstrators, members of Youth for Conservation and the Kajiado Wildlife Conservation Network, to line up at the entrance after they promised to be peaceful. Dr Shinawatra was taken into the shopping mall through another entrance.

However, he came face-to-face with them and saw their placards as he left for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where the President saw him off at midday.

The Government spokesman, reacting to the row, issued a list of the animals earmarked for exports, which he said contained no endangered species like rhino, lions, leopards and cheetahs.

Instead, it was made up mostly of herbivores like gazelles, zebras and wildebeest, plus hippos and some birds.

The list, together with details of the deal were published on the Government's web site shortly after the Orange No-vote campaign team stepped into the row, saying the sale should be put on hold until after the referendum on the proposed Constitution. Then Parliament should approve or reject it.

The group, which brings together MPs from Kanu and the Liberal Democratic Party, condemned the export deal as "selling Kenya's heritage".

In a statement read by the No-team campaign chairman, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, the group said: "Our animals are as important as human beings. Parliament must approve this deal."

Mr Kilonzo accused President Kibaki of "taking Kenyans for granted" by signing the agreement without consulting the relevant institutions.

The nominated MP said the President had unprocedurally returned Amboseli National Park to Olkejuado County Council and was now "auctioning Kenya's wildlife".

"He is trying to wind up the country," he said. 

Mr Kilonzo, who was accompanied by MPs Reuben Ndolo (Makadara) and William Omondi (Kasarani), asked people to oppose the decision.

And addressing a No campaign rally in Narok Town yesterday, Mr Ntimama said he "smelt a rat" because the communities surrounding game reserves were not consulted.

He demanded to know who would benefit from the money from the sale, and describing the deal as shoddy, he said it was likely to join a "catalogue of illegalities and scandals" in the Narc Government.

Kenyans must be told in a transparent and candid manner details of the deal, the minister said. 

He added one of the main reasons the Orange movement was opposed to the proposed Constitution was because of the massive powers vested in the President to do as he wished. 

Mr Ntimama said the President was misusing his powers by taking unilateral decisions, which affected the whole country.

The President should say from which national reserve the animals would be taken and how the local communities would benefit.

The move, he added, could impact on income from tourism from the Far East because some potential visitors would instead choose to see the animals in Thailand. And Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, who accompanied Mr Ntimama, said that there was no way the President could make such a big decision without convening the Cabinet. 

It emerged yesterday that the 175 animals to be taken to Thailand, apart from attracting visitors to the Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo, will also be used for research.

It was, however, not clear what kind of research they would be used for, because all the Thai authorities said was that they wanted to learn from Kenya's experience on how to take care of wildlife.

The animals will be shipped to Thailand on a date they would not disclose.

The prime minister and his government spokesman Mr Surapong Suebwonglee seemed to be pained by claims they had bought the animals. 

The money given out – which they did not disclose but is believed to be Sh80 million – would be used to create a fund to promote research, they said.

Dr Shinawatra was the first to defend his government's decision, saying the animals were meant for joint research between the two countries.

He denied his government had bought the animals because Kenya's wildlife was not for sale.

Kenya had plenty of animals, which he said could be sent for good care and research in Thailand, instead of being culled when their numbers became too high.

Dr Shinawatra said the joint research would be beneficial to both states because they were both developing countries.

He said: "We've not come here to buy wildlife. We are engaged in a joint effort where instead of culling your excess wildlife, you send the animals to us for joint research because if we undertake joint research, it will benefit both of us".

Reported by David Mugonyi, Muriithi Muriuki and Patrick Nzioka

Outrage over pact giving 175 animals to Thailand

Standard, Nairobi
Friday November 11, 2005

Standard Team

Outrage greeted the signing of a pact giving Thailand 175 Kenyan wild animals, with a minister calling for an urgent Cabinet meeting to discuss the matter.

Mr William Ntimama, of the Office of the President, said such a "monumental" decision should not have been made unilaterally by the President. "This is not a simple matter and I am calling on the President to convene an urgent Cabinet meeting to discuss it."

The minister was addressing journalists at Mai Mahiu before attending campaign rallies in Narok Town and Ololua Township.

Conservationists, members of communities living near the game reserves and other politicians also protested at the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the two countries, even as the Governments of both Kenya and Thailand tried to reassure them.

Following the signing of the memorandum on Wednesday — witnessed by President Kibaki and Thailand Prime Minister Thaskin Shinawatra – Kenya will give the Asian country 175 animals for its Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo, set to be opened next week.

Yesterday, Dr Shinawatra, who is on a three-day State visit, said the agreement between the two countries was within the law.

The PM was speaking at Village Market in Nairobi, where he opened the Thai trade fair. Demonstrators who had gathered at the main entrance to the shopping centre to protest at the deal were disappointed after Shinawatra’s security team used a different entrance.

Once they learnt that he was already inside the premise, some stationed themselves along the way out. However, police took them away moments before the prime minister left.

The Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, also defended the animal deal, saying it was only one of several memoranda the two governments had signed.

Mutua said the animals were taken from a rich habitat with more than 1.5 million animals and they would be taken to an open sanctuary in Thailand.

He also said that only herbivores would be taken away and not those in the endangered species’ list—lions, leopards, the rhino, elephant, among others.

But civic leaders from Olkejuado County Council warned the Government against giving away the animals, saying the move would deal a big blow to the Maasai community living around the game reserve.

"We will not negotiate over this and let them attempt and they will see the Maasai community in its true colours," said Mr Julius ole Ntayia.

And the Born Free Foundation asked the Government to make public details of the controversial pact.

The co-ordinator, Ms Alice Owen, said stakeholders were surprised that they were not consulted on the issue.

"We want to see the document. It is only when we see it and get the facts that we can take a position,’’ Owen said.

But she said they would be opposed to the removal of animals from their natural habitats.

Foreign Affairs minister Chirau Mwakwere on Wednesday gave a breakdown of the animals to be exported, saying it was not the first time Kenya was exporting animals.

But renowned conservationist Dr Richard Leakey has termed the decision a national shame.

The Orange campaign team demanded that Parliament debates the decision.

Nominated MP Mutula Kilonzo asked why President Kibaki was "in a hurry to wind up the country".

"Parliament should approve the sale. President Kibaki has given away Amboseli National Park and now it is our animals. Where will he stop? He could be winding up the country," said Mutula.

Last month, Amboseli National Park, which was gazetted as a national park in 1972 due to its delicate ecosystem, was handed over to Ol Kejuado County Council.

Yesterday, the Government, through Mutua, sought to justify the decision, saying Thailand is advanced in service delivery and handles over 12 million tourists every year compared to Kenya’s average 1.3 million.

He said the MoU was "to obligate" the two governments to comply with the movement of animals and the conservation of wildlife allowing Kenya to monitor their health.

The MoU is "open ended" allowing the Government of Kenya to monitor, through KWS, the health and progress of the 24 species of animals while in the foreign country.

"Thailand is not paying for any of the animals—this is a gift," said Mutua in his briefing.

He said the animals would be moved in bits "for observation purposes" and the costs would be met by Thailand.

Mutua added that the Kenya was "very pleased" signing the agreement because Kenya will "substantially" benefit from Thailand’s expertise in the management of parks.

Mutua said the Kenya Wildlife Service and Ministry of Tourism were involved in the negotiations preceded by site visits, and that a fund would be set up to care for the animals in Thailand.

"This is the most advanced translocation ever conducted in the world," he added.

And speaking at the Serena Hotel in the Masai Mara after touring the game reserve on Wednesday afternoon, Shinawatra said tourists from Thailand would continue to visit Kenya in spite of the deal.

http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=32016

Kibaki signs away 175 animals to Thailand

10th Nov. 2005

Standard Team and PPS

Thailand ExPrime Minister, Dr Thaksin Shinawatra, and Kenyan ExInformation Minister, Raphael Tuju, during lunch break at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve yesterday. Earlier, President Kibaki had signed a pact that will see Kenya export 175 wild animals to Thailand.

Pic by Govedi Asutsa

President Kibaki and Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shanawatra yesterday witnessed the signing of a pact by their Foreign Ministers, which will see Kenya export 175 wild animals to the Asian state.

The two leaders witnessed the signing ceremony at State House, Nairobi, before Thaksin, described as a lover of animals, flew to Maasai Mara National Park to sample Kenya’s wildlife.

Signing on behalf of Kenya was Foreign minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere, who later argued that the numbers and species involved were negligible given the population of animals in Kenya’s game reserves and national parks.

Thailand’s Foreign minister, Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon, signed the Memorandum on behalf of his country, which drew prompt condemnation from conservationist.

Former Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) director, Dr Richard Leakey, said he was shocked that the Government could accede to such a request.

"To export wildlife to a zoo is a completely deplorable action. It is complete bankruptcy of Government,’’ Leakey said.

He said he was greatly ashamed that Kenya could sell its image for such a small figure touted to be US$500,000 (Sh37.5 million). Mwakwere said the agreement involved relocation of wildlife from Kenya to Thailand, a process he said was not "dangerous and impossible" as claimed by a section of activists who had demanded transparency on the plan on Tuesday.

"This is not a dangerous affair at all. The total number of animals to be relocated over a period of time will be 175 from 25 different species. We have done it before although it was a discreet process. It is not harmful, neither will it interfere or kill our tourism," he added.

"It is far much better to relocate a small number of animals to Thailand than to resort to culling and shooting in the country because even the eco-system they are in has become too small." The agreement also offers a wide range of beneficial exchange programmes between Thailand and Kenya, through ministries.

The memorandum was, however, silent on the animals-for-aid deal except a one liner reference in clause 11: "The two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Park and Wildlife Management"

Mwakwere gave some of the species and numbers of animals to be carted away and the existing stock as follows:

  • Six African Buffaloes out of a population of 90,000
  • Three Masai giraffes out of a population of not less than 4,000 in Kenya.
  • Fifteen Common Zebras out of the current population of 50,000.
  • Six warthogs to be relocated out of a population of 15,000.
  • Twenty Flamingos out of a population of not less than one million.
  • Six dik-diks out of a population of not less than 10,000
  • Ten impalas out of not less than 40,000.
  • Three jackals out of a population of 2,000.
  • Four crested cranes out of not less than 2,000.
  • Six Marabou storks out of 10,000.
  • Six spotted hyenas out of 5,000.
  • Eight Thomson’s gazelles out of 30,000.
  • Four hippopotamuses out of a total of 10,000.

Mwakwere also disclosed that Kenya had donated more wildlife in the past.

"There are zoos in America and Dubai. Where do you think the wildlife came from?’’ he asked.

He added: "It is just that the process has been discreet in the past, but there is nothing wrong with the relocation. The activists should try and find out first, the details of the relocation before protesting over details they have not read, " he argued.

Mwakwere said the process did not translate into depopulation because the "donations are so small compared to the overwhelming number we have back in the country, which is already a threat.’’

The agreement, he said, translates to the establishment of a joint commission for bilateral co-operation in the field of Parks and Wildlife Management.

Through the same programme, Mwakwere said, all government ministries would be free to come up with documentation that would specify areas of interest to facilitate exchange of lecturers, students and other forms of expertise.

But though Mwakwere said the animals won’t be leaving the country soon, the Thai media is already teeming with stories of the grand display of the Kenyan game on November 16 when a Safari Park organised by the Prime Minister in his home village of Chiang Mai opens. This has led to speculation that the animals could be airlifted anytime.

Mwakwere said no single elephant would be relocated in the process, which is estimated to take several months. Also missing out on the list is the pride of Kenya’s parks: lions, leopards, rhinos and cheetahs.

"The process will not start immediately. It will be in phases and will also be slow. First of all, there has to be preparations and statistics have to be put in the right perspective," said Mwakwere.

Clause four of the joint communiquÈ later circulated to media houses by the Presidential Press Service read: "The two leaders lauded the warm bond of friendship and co-operation existing between Kenya and Thailand. They reiterated their commitment to strengthening and deepening bilateral relations through mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation.’’

International media recently quoted top Thai government officials saying the visit would culminate in the signing of a memorandum of understanding that would see Kenya government export 300 wild animals to Chiang Mai Night Safari Park.

"There will be a signing of an agreement on that (Wildlife)," confirmed a Thai official, who added, "There will also be an agreement on setting up a joint trade commission."

Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi and Tourism PS Rebecca strongly refuted the reports.

The premier jets out of the country today. He led high-ranking Thai officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Trade minister, Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Natural Resources Minister Yongyut Tiyapairat, Deputy Minister of Commerce Preecha Laohapongchana and Dr Suphamongkhon.

Currently, trade volumes between the two countries stands at Ksh7.4 billion, but Kenya’s exports are minimal.

President Kibaki briefed the Thai premier on the incentives and investment opportunities in Kenya’s processing zones, which would give them access to the East African Community and Comesa markets.

http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=31968

Game export: It is a national shame, declares Leakey

STANDARD, Nairobi
10. Nov. 2005

By Joseph Murimi

Former Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) director, Dr Richard Leakey, yesterday said he was shocked that the Government could export its game to a foreign country.

"To export wildlife to a zoo is a completely deplorable action. It is complete bankruptcy of Government,’’ Leakey said.

He said he was ashamed that Kenya could sell its image for such a small figure touted to be around US$ 500,000 (Sh37.5 million). He described the move as a big blow to KWS and Kenya’s tourism industry that is showing signs of recovery.

He claimed in the last two years the Government has systematically destroyed KWS’s capacity to operate as an independent body.

Leakey cited the Amboseli fiasco where the national park was downgraded to a national reserve and handed over to Kajiado County Council.

"First it was Amboseli, now they want to sell Kenya’s image. I am shocked, it is pathetic, it is a sad day for Kenya,’’ Leakey said on telephone.

He said there were few countries that support the capture and breeding of animals in a zoo.

Transportation of animals to a different climatic zone, he argued, meant most of them would die and those that survive would be subjected to suffering.

Leakey said his friends could raise for the Government the money it was getting from the deal if it was broke.

The Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Trade and Tourism said it had no details on the deal and would be seeking audience with the Tourism minister.

The chairman Mutahi Kagwe however said it would be difficult to fathom mass export of animals.

http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=31973

November 9, 2005

Come clean on the Thai wildlife deal

The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is in the country for a three-day state visit. This is the first time the Prime Minister is visiting Kenya in what has been hailed as a move to strengthen economic ties between Thailand and Kenya.

It is also a grand opportunity to correct the trade imbalance between the two countries. Already, trade volumes between the two countries have reached Sh7.4 billion, but Kenya’s exports to Thailand are minimal.

No doubt, there will be important matters of trade between the two countries discussed during the visit. But one thing rankles… the issue of animal exports to Thailand.

Late last year, President Mwai Kibaki made a trip to Thailand. During the visit, the President reportedly sanctioned the exportation of 300 animals valued at a million US dollars to go to a wildlife mutual fund. The animals were supposed to stock the Chian Mai Night Safari Park, which will be opened next week. The Thai media was already reporting on Monday that the prime minister’s visit to Kenya was a welcome boost for the park and that Kenya had agreed to provide Thailand with 135 African wild animals.

Thai officials have also been quoted saying that Kenya had officially notified them that it would sign a memorandum of understanding with Thailand on the matter.

Observers believe that the visit is closely linked to the deal. But the Government has already denied that there exists such a deal. So who is mistaken here? The world media reporting about the deal or those who deny that such a thing exists?

Wild animals are core to Kenya’s tourism. They are our national heritage. Anything touching on them; their culling, their export or their translocation, is something that would interest many Kenyans. It is therefore imperative that the Government comes clean on the deal. If it does not exist, then it should clear the misconception already taking root that it does. If it indeed exists, then the Government should be open about it. The public has a right to know for what reason the Government would sell a national resource.

Link: http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news_s.php?articleid=31885 

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