Kenya Airways, USAID’s ROUTES partner to protect African wildlife

Kenya Airways and the States Agency for International Development (USAID) Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership have come together to create awareness of the continued fight against illegal wildlife trade.

Through the partnership, Kenya Airways has launched a video to create stakeholders’ awareness about protecting the nation’s national heritage. This effort is part of KQ’s sustainability strategy to contribute to Africa’s sustainable development through wildlife conservation.

Much of Africa’s wildlife is threatened by the illegal wildlife trade. It is estimated that 55 African Elephants are poached every day. In 2016, Kenya Airways signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration, acting against wildlife trafficking through transport systems. Five years on, Kenya Airways continues to play an active role in addressing this problem.

Kenya’s economy is highly dependent on ecotourism, with wildlife lovers and adventurers travelling from across the globe for a sighting of a leopard lounging on a tree branch or elephants playing at the watering hole.

“The demand for exotic ornaments, traditional medicines, pets, and fashion that sees wildlife poached for a profit is threatening Kenya’s sustainable source of tourism income. The country also acts as a significant transit point in illegal wildlife smuggling routes.


Kenya Airways. Pic: Forbes

Tackling the trafficking, therefore, provides hope in protecting elephants and economic gains made from tourism not only for Kenya but other nations across the continent as well,” said Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer, Allan Kilavuka.

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As part of the campaign, KQ and ROUTES have produced an educative video responding to the ROUTES Partnership and United For Wildlife Step Up to Stop Wildlife Trafficking Campaign.

The campaign encourages airports, airlines, and associations to boost their efforts to combat wildlife trafficking through various awareness-raising and staff training activities.

Many airlines and airports, like Kenya Airways, are working alongside the ROUTES Partnership to raise awareness and provide training to staff on how they can help.

“A successful response to wildlife trafficking requires concerted efforts across a range of stakeholders throughout the transportation industry. We’re delighted to see Kenya Airways spreading this message proactively in their new video and encouraged by the steps they’re taking to help stop this trade,” said Crawford Allan, ROUTES lead.

The recent history of Kenya’s elephant numbers provides hope. Since instigating a crackdown on poaching in the country, Kenya has seen its elephant population numbers double over the last 30 years – a promising encouragement for other countries where poaching remains a dire threat to elephants. Today, on World Elephant Day, we celebrate that turnaround and consider how to keep elephants safe across their range for future generations.

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Kenya Airways fleet of aircraft. Pic: Al Jazeera


The USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership brings together government agencies, transportation and logistics industry companies and representatives, international conservation, development and law enforcement organizations and donors in order to disrupt wildlife trafficking activities and forms a key element of the concerted international response to addressing wildlife poaching and associated criminal activities worldwide.

At the heart of ROUTES is a core group of partners collaborating with the U.S. Government and the transport sector that includes Airports Council International (ACI) World, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), TRAFFIC and WWF. The Partnership is funded by USAID and coordinated by TRAFFIC. To learn more, visit or follow @ROUTESPartners


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is responsible for the majority of overseas development assistance from the United States Government and leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people on their journey to self-reliance. For more information, please visit or follow @USAID on Facebook and Twitter.

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About Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 41 destinations worldwide, 34 of which are in Africa and carries over four million passengers annually.

In 2020 KQ was named Africa’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 32 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Kenya Airways offers services Cargo services to key locations including London, Amsterdam, Guangzhou, Sharjah, Mumbai and over 25 intra-Africa routes in addition to its passenger network.

The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10.

Kenya Airways takes pride in being at the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Wole Shadare