The Kenya Airways yesterday joined the fight against poaching following the killing of 18 elephants in the first week of this year.
Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni said without elephants, tourists will not visit the country leading to many people losing jobs in the hospitality industry. Elephants are part of the Big Five which include lions, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards.
Speaking while signing a partnership with Born Free Foundation which is against poaching, Naikuni said poachers are becoming sophisticated.
He said KQ will not sit back as wild animals are wiped out.
Naikuni said the airline, which ferries tourists from most parts of the world to the country, will have its passengers reduced if poaching is not tamed.
"The poaching of wild animals in the country has a multiplying negative effect which trickles down to that mama mboga who grows vegetables for visitors to eat and all Kenyans need to come together and fight the vice," Naikuni said.
He said Kenyans should be taught the importance of wild animals to the country right from the primary school.
The airline, he said, will provide envelopes in all its planes so that philanthropists can make contributions towards the foundation.
"The contributions which would be collected by KQ and managed by Kenya Wildlife Service and the foundation would be basically for carrying out anti-poaching activities," Naikuni said.
He said with the coming up of county governments, governors need to come up with programmes that would protect wild animals.
The founder of the foundation, Vriginia Mckenna, who is popularly known for the documentary Born Free shot in Kenya said the country was a top destination for wild animals and it sadness her when wild animals are killed with impunity.
She said lions in the country number about 2,000 and they were being threatened because human beings have approached their territories.
"Lions and other wild animals are the living treasurers of Kenya and you need to take a considerable step in ensuring that they are protected," Mckenna who started the foundation in 1984 said.
In 2012, four rhinos and 70 elephants were killed by poachers.
A month ago, a container with elephant tusks destined to Indonesia was impounded by Kenya Revenue Authority personell while KWS seized 702 elephant tusks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last year.