One hundred and forty-seven Kenya Wildlife Service Institute trainees graduated on June 23, 2018 at a colourful ceremony president over by Kenya Wildlife Service Board of Trustees chairman, Dr. John Waithaka on behalf of Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala.
The new graduates were awarded Diplomas and Certificates in Community Wildlife Management, Nature Interpretation and Tour Administration, Wildlife Management, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Environmental Management, and Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
In his speech read by Dr. Waithaka, the Cabinet Secretary emphasized on the need to educate people on the importance of wildlife and to make sure that they are well engaged in conservation of the country’s wildlife, because this is the only way to save this critical heritage.
“What is being done to protect biodiversity is little compared to the cumulative threats to our environment today. This calls for all of us to work much harder to cause positive change before it is too late”, said Balala adding “Wildlife belongs to all Kenyans. We must show the communities the benefits they are getting and how they can gain direct benefits from wildlife conservation”
Balala paid glowing tribute to the late Prof. Wangari Mathai for her outstanding work in environmental conservation which earned her the coveted Nobel Peace Prize. He urged the graduates to nurture Mother Nature through Conservation Education wherever they’ll be after college.
He said there was need to do more to raise awareness on the urgent necessity and tremendous benefits of conservation noting, “Wildlife confers immense ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational, and aesthetic benefits to sustainable development and human well- being”.
In his remarks, the institute Principal, Prof. Charles Musyoki promised to sustain the good reputation of the college as a centre for excellence by continuing to offer competence based courses. He appealed to KWS management to consider more funding to the institute to expand vital infrastructure such as lecture halls, the library, hostels, and buses for students’ use. He appealed for more latitude to the institute management to initiate income generating ventures to improve its revenue base; an appealed also repeated by the institute Chair of Academic and Management Board, Prof. Lucy Irungu.
In response, KWS chairman Board of Trustees, Dr. John Waithaka promised to address the requests brought forth saying “where there is will, there is way”. Dr. Waithaka, an acclaimed wildlife conservationist, spoke against corruption and cautioned that destroying a country’s wildlife is tantamount to destroying its future.
The ceremony was also attended by among others KWS acting Director General, Mr. Julius Kimani, Nakuru Deputy Governor Dr. Eric Korir and Naivasha Member of Parliament, Jane Kihara.