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Reply to Yongliang Gao
National parks are a political issue. As Anna stated in her reflection, Kenyan national parks are concerned with tourism and conservation of animals. However, it is in these parks that elephant poaching happens, and Kenya’s elephant population has been consequently decreasing. To make a statement to the poachers and international community, the former Kenyan president Kibaki burned tonnes of ivory within the Tsavo West national park, where some of the poaching was happening. He was making a clear statement, that enough is enough, and that the ivory will never leave Kenya, and should not leave the national park. National parks can be and are divisive and are consistently used by the government and/or politicians to paint a certain picture to the public. It is through the national parks that Kenya is sending a message to the international community that they are conserving nature and taking care of their wildlife, which attracts the tourists. The national parks are dependent on revenue from western tourists, and if Kenya’s government denounced the protection of elephants, for example, Kenya’s tourism would drop dramatically. In effect then, the international community is putting pressure on Kenya through their national parks and the wildlife therein.
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