Demo hits Thai premier in Nairobi over wildlife deal

Demo against Thai Premier over Wildlife export deal
By Henry Neondo

The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra was yesterday denounced by a coalition against exportation of wildlife for his persistent request on the Kenyan government to export 300 wildlife to his country.

While on a visit to open the Thai business exhibition in Nairobi, Thaksin evaded what would have appeared an ugly scene and sneaked into the exhibition hall, avoiding demonstrators gathered outside the official entry into the village market where the Thai exhibition is taking place.

According to Josephat Ngonyo, the coordinator of the coalition, Kenyan tourism depends on the animals in the wild and the idea of exporting the wildlife to Thailand is defeatists as it is misadvised.

Ngonyo said that more than anything else, it is the animals in the wild that attracts tourists. “Not beaches, nor diverse cultures as all countries have cultures. But African countries of which Kenya is privileged to belong have a unique resource in wild animals.”

He said that the deal to export wildlife to Thailand is itself shrouded in mystery as neither the ministry of environment nor the ministry of tourism appears ready to shoulder responsibility on the matter adding that it appears the deal could be involving only the Office of the President.

Early January, it was revealed by the press that Kenya was to provide 300 wild animals to Thailand and 1.3 square kilometer zoo had already been earmarked in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

This followed a request by the Thai Premier to President Kibaki when the Kenyan president paid an official visit to Thailand in October last year. Kenya is to receive US$1 million to help set up a revolving fund, some assistance to train tourism police unit and veterinarians to help train local Kenya Wildlife Service staff.


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