Our Wildlife, My Responsibility, My Heritage.
An Essay by Makena Muriuki (15 years) & Zanelle Wanja (15)
Wildlife is the most precious gift we have. They are living, like us. They are dependent on their kind, like us. Most of all, they are an important part of life just like us. Wildlife is not only a gift we have been given but our heritage and most definitely our responsibility. As the saying goes, with wisdom comes responsibility. We as humans were gifted with the ability to recognize what is needed from us and what is expected of us.
Since the beginning of time, it has been man’s responsibility to care for nature and wildlife in ways they cannot care for themselves. This is through conservation efforts which should be the initiative of every single person. In the past 32 years alone, Kenya has lost over 44% of its total wildlife. This has been due to failure in policy making and keeping, lack of institutional responsibility and market failure. We cannot however blame this all on the people and organizations that have been put in place to be responsible but on that one person it always comes down to. It may be a large initiative but it is always a personal choice at the beginning.
When one chooses to become a poacher and kill an innocent, beautiful animal that is their choice, yet again it is the same person’s choice to reform themselves and protect the species they once hunted. A reformed poacher in Kenya who had a career in poaching for more than 10 years and killed over 300 elephants has become one of the most established protectors of wildlife in his community. Like most people should, he realized the importance of wildlife, not only in terms of our economy but also our national heritage.
As it has always been, wildlife and nature are Kenya’s heritage, Africa’s heritage. It is the one thing that cannot and will not be taken away from us, unless we allow it. We are the ones who are responsible for what we allow on our land. We cannot comprehend the fact that more people kill animals than animals do people. How is it right to think that one of our lives is more important than an animals? That is not right and will never be. No one should allow the murder of an animal because they want to earn money or prestige. If you want something for yourself then do it justly and honestly! If you don’t know how than think about it like this, is a life worth what I want for myself? That is, a whole life, one that is carefully created and conceived and a life that cannot be replaced or forgotten. You may think that they are not one of your own so you do not have to care for them, but they are your own and you do have to care! They are part of their families life and they feel loss just like we do, pain like we do and most of all, the crime of one being taken away from them in the most evil vicious manner of all.
In order for us to avoid this heartache for not only the animals but ourselves, it is my responsibility, your responsibility, our responsibility to care and conserve our wildlife. We do this by looking out for them and implementing laws that will protect them. Keep our parks protected and be vigilant about the conservation of our animals. The way a mother looks after their child and a brother after his sister, we should and must look after our wildlife. They cannot protect themselves from our kind, or there would be a lot more wildlife, so it is our job to be there for them. To make sure that our kind does not destroy theirs. As we said, we are not more important than animals are and we will never be.