NAIROBI, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Sino-Africa cooperation in wildlife and ecosystems protection that has flourished in recent years is critical to advance socio-economic and ecological renewal in the world's second largest continent, an official said on Wednesday.
John Scanlon, the Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), hailed China's support towards protection of wildlife heritage in Africa.
During an recent interview with Xinhua in Nairobi, Scanlon stressed that China's involvement is crucial to strengthen protection of Africa's wildlife heritage.
"China has been very keen to engage with us in promoting wildlife conservation in Africa," Scanlon remarked, adding that China's top leadership has demonstrated commitment towards protection of Africa's iconic wildlife species.
File photo shows a Chinese conservationist (R) and a Kenyan Maasai man. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
The Chinese government and state-owned enterprises have backed multilateral initiatives aimed at curbing the loss of Africa's iconic wildlife species due to human actions and natural calamities.
"The Sino-Africa cooperation in wildlife protection has focused on different perspectives including supply and demand. As a party to CITES, China has supported Africa's positions on strengthening conservation of wildlife species," Scanlon told Xinhua.
Sino-Africa bilateral cooperation on wildlife protection has focused on technical and financial support to help combat wildlife crimes in the continent.
Scanlon noted that China was actively involved in a multinational operation dubbed "Cobra" to help track and disrupt criminal networked involved in illegal trafficking of wildlife products.
"This operation brought together more than sixty countries to help identify and arrest criminals involved in trafficking ofwildlife products," Scanlon remarked, adding that he is upbeat about the future of Sino-Africa wildlife cooperation given the unwavering political support.
According to theUnited NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP), 100,000 African elephants out of an estimated total population of 500,000 were killed between 2010-2012.
Elephants troop to a water hole at the Amboseli national reserve November 13, 2015 at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.(AFP PHOTO/Tony KARUMBA )
The agency noted that 1,338 African rhinos were killed last year while an estimated 170 tons of ivory was illegally exported out of the continent between 2009 to 2014.
Scanlon said the upcoming CITES summit in South Africa in September this year will inject fresh impetus in efforts to eradicate illegal trade in wildlife products.
"Currently, 7,000 wildlife species are being traded globally, and this pervasive behavior has worsened depletion of ecosystems," Scanlon said, adding that community-led interventions were key to boost wildlife conservation.