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China offers fund to Botswana, Africa wildlife protection

Updated: Jul 15,2015 9:41 PM     Xinhua

GABORONE — The Chinese government and Botswana Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism on July 14 jointly announced a donation of $1.7 million worth of goods from the Chinese government for wildlife protection.

The donation follows China’s another sponsorship to Botswana for relocating 500 animals including 400 wildebeest and 100 eland in to Central Kalahari Game Reserve located in central Botswana.

“Those areas where we have been challenged with finances, “ said Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. “we want to say to the Chinese government we really appreciate this assistance. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

China has taken successive steps on protecting wildlife, all necessary measures have been taken by the Chinese government conserving natural resources and combating illegal wildlife poaching and trading, said Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Botswana.

Beijing destroyed 660 kg of confiscated elephant ivory in May, the third public destruction since January 2014, and follows similar initiatives in Dongguan (6,2 tonnes crushed) and Hong-Kong (28 tonnes incinerated).

8 individuals were also condemned to long custodial sentences earlier this week for their involvement in forbidden ivory-trading activities, latest evidence of rising public awareness in China on wildlife protection.

The Chinese government has long been making contribution to Africa’s conservation efforts, including similar donations to Kenya and Ethiopia.

In 2014, China provided $515,000 to launch an initiative in Kenya aimed at empowering neighboring wildlife protected areas to participate in conservation.

Despite global efforts, rhinos and elephants are disappearing fast in Africa. Elephant population on the continent is estimated at 500,000, compared with 1.2 million in 1980.

During his visit to Africa last year, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to provide Africa with $10 million of free aid for wild life preservation and promote joint research in protecting biological diversity, preventing and controlling desertification and promoting modern agriculture.

Former NBA star Yao Ming and a political adviser in China, who is well known for his stance against poaching and his high-profile campaigns against the trade, has been urging legislation to prevent the sale of any illegal animal products.

For ordinary people, Chinese volunteer Zhuo Qiang 2011 founded Mara Conservation Fund in Kenya in 2011. The nongovernmental organization dedicated to protecting lions and other animals as well as saving their natural habitat.

Some 100 Chinese volunteers came to Kenya to work with Zhuo on conservation projects each year, and share their experiences to more Chinese back home.

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