|Kenyan YoG campaign launched|
|Wednesday, 24 June 2009 12:55|
In support of the global Year of the Gorilla 2009 (YoG) campaign, a national YoG awareness campaign was launched at Mombasa’s Haller Park on Saturday, 20th June 2009. The goal was to create awareness of the extremely precarious status of gorillas, which face continued threats, e.g. from commercial bush meat trade and the destruction of their habitat. Pollmans Tours & Safaris Ltd. in partnership with TUI, Friends of Tsavo and in collaboration with Lafarge Ecosystems organized this event.
The occasion was graced by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Robert Hepworth, who gave major support to the successful campaign for the Year of the Dolphin (YoD) in 2007–8, which earned Kenya recognition as Africa’s leading country in dolphin awareness raising. The event was also attended by the Assistant Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Coast Region, Simon Gitau, the Senior Warden of Tsavo East National Park, Yusuf Aden and Dr. Nyawira Muthiga of Wildlife Conservation Society.
Robert Hepworth heaped praise on the schoolchildren and informed the audience that it was Kenya’s contribution to the Year of the Dolphin 2007, which led UNEP/ CMS to extend the YoD into 2008. He also recognized the efforts made in Kenya to ensure continuity of dolphin conservation activities.
Leading the troop of performers from various schools - including Coast Senior and Junior Academy, Jaffery Academy, Tudor Academy, Bamburi Primary School, Shimoni, Wasini and Mkwiro Primary Schools, Silverstone Academy and SDA Junior Academy - was the impressive Agakhan Band, which captivated the audience with a colorful parade.
In welcoming the Year of the Gorilla, the schoolchildren of Shimoni, Wasini, and Mkwiro Primary Schools, now recognized as the stalwarts of the YoD Kenya, were joined by those of Silverstone and SDA Junior Academy in drawing the curtains down on the Year of the Dolphin. By performing tantalizing songs and poems, these schools impressed upon the audience and the Kenyan Wildlife Service the need to continue the sensitization on the threats to dolphins and to ensure measures adopted in Kenya for sustainable tourism and fishing practices were complied with.
Paving the way for the Year of the Gorilla, the three schools were joined by newcomers Coast Senior and Junior Academy, Jaffery Academy and Tudor Academy in making a passionate plea through poetry, songs and stage performances asking Kenyans and the world community to take concerted action to save gorillas from extinction. Robert Hepworth in his remarks lauded the schoolchildren whom he described as inspirational for their unrelenting awareness campaign during the Year of the Dolphin.
In bringing the Year of the Gorilla Kenya at Haller Park to a close, the schoolchildren and their teachers were presented with the YoG brochures, posters and educational manual featuring information on gorillas, their ecology, social behaviour and the threats faced by these magnificent great apes.
The Year of the Gorilla 2009 Kenya launch at Haller Park was brought to a close by Khalid Shapi of Pollman’s in giving thanks to Lafarge Ecosystems for hosting the event, the schools and the Agakhan Band for their valuable contribution, the Kenya Wildlife Services for helping make the YoG Haller Park a success and to TUI for their support to the YoD campaign in Kenya.