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Youth Engagement in Wildlife Conservation

As the world prepares to observe the World Wildlife Day on Sunday, 3rd March 2019, Kenya must strive to create a conducive environment to engage and empower the youths to be proactive to save, protect and conserve the continent’s rich wildlife resource base which is under threat of extinction.

The reason we need to widen conservation projects to include the young generation is because of the absence of a strong African voice on global wildlife conservation front. We need to engage the youth more because they are a key point of influence for other segments of society. The Alfred Polo Foundation does this through ethical leadership, mentoring and coaching to enable them to take interest in preserving Kenya’s wildlife resources.

Through youth engagement, the continent could harness creativity, enthusiasm and drive for any actions to address threats to the continent’s wildlife resources. The issue of wildlife management and improvement should be a major concern to young people as they ought to play active roles in programmes and activities which aim to curb poaching, illegal trade in animal products and trafficking.

Some environmental analysts say governments must seek to supplement state level processes by deepening participation through the creation of an environment that places the youth at the centre of protection and conservation of wildlife. If we don’t involve the youth, they may engage in all sorts of activities that may exacerbate poaching.

We need to empower the youth to understand the gravity of the poaching crisis facing African wildlife. We need to involve them so that they can understand how poaching, unsustainable hunting practices and illegal trade in animal products affects tourism earnings, community livelihoods and how this robs future generations of their wildlife heritage.

Non-involvement of the youth will lead to exploitation of wildlife resources at a rapid and unsustainable rate that future inheritors of Kenya will have very little, if none of the wildlife resources current generations have access to.