Kenya Airways has embarked on a new initiative that targets raising over Rand 8.5 million (£540,000) annually for wildlife conservation in Kenya, in partnership with the Born Free Foundation.
Under the campaign dubbed ‘Change Brings Change’, bags will be circulated in all Kenya Airways’ flights for passengers to donate to wildlife conservation causes throughout the world. The raised funds will then be deployed to national parks and conservancies.
The initiative projects that up to Rand 700 000 (£45,000) could be raised every month, based on current passenger traffic handled by the airline. Global foreign exchange specialist, Travelex, will be involved in handling the collections.
Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Titus Naikuni said that the initiative underlined the airline’s commitment to promoting sustainable development in Africa by conserving wildlife.
“Wildlife is not only part of our heritage in Kenya but also a key driver of the tourism industry, which is a major foreign exchange earner and creator of job opportunities. For this reason, we all have a responsibility to support the conservation of wildlife. I would like to challenge guests on all our flights to give generously to this noble cause,” Dr Naikuni added.
The new initiative comes in the wake of growing concern over escalating cases of wildlife poaching, especially of rhinos and elephants, largely driven by demand for ivory and rhino horn in the Far East.
According to official statistics from the Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the country has lost 214 elephants and 36 rhinos to poaching since the beginning of the year. A similarly bleak picture is facing wildlife in South Africa, as well as in other African countries.
In addition to poaching, other challenges facing wildlife conservation across the world include climate change, human-wildlife conflict and pressure from the burgeoning human population.
The founder of the Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna, said that the initiative would help plug gaps in financing wildlife conservation, which currently relies mainly on government allocations.
“We all have a responsibility to invest in conserving our wildlife. There is more value in investing in living creatures than it is putting money into inanimate objects,” Ms McKenna added.
The new initiative follows others supported by the airline. In July, Kenya Airways joined the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign. Spearheaded by Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, the initiative is driven by Wildlife Direct, a wildlife conservation charity, and it aims at ending elephant poaching and ivory trafficking through Kenya, as well as eliminating demand for the commodity around the world.