5K Chinese workers in Kenya a threat to wildlife

August 7, 2014 - 1:06 PM
Kenya China Wildlife

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 5, 2013 file photo, two-month-old orphaned baby elephant Ajabu is given a dust-bath in the red earth after being fed milk from a bottle by a keeper, as she is too young to do it herself, at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. A Kenyan consumer lobby group said Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 that 5,000 Chinese nationals who are coming to Kenya for the construction of a railway line pose a threat to the country's elephants, and that conservationists have seen a rise in elephant poaching deaths in Kenya as the number of Chinese nationals in the country has risen. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Kenyan consumer lobby group says that 5,000 Chinese nationals who are coming to Kenya for the construction of a railway line pose a threat to the country's elephants.

Consumer Federation of Kenya official Steven Mutoro said Thursday that conservationists have seen a rise in elephant poaching deaths in Kenya as the number of Chinese nationals in the country have risen.

Kenya recently signed an agreement with China to construct a standard-gauge railway from Nairobi to Mombasa. The line will cost $3.6 billion and China will provide 90 percent of the funding. Construction is to begin Oct. 1.

Mutoro said Kenyans should fill the construction jobs.

Demand for ivory in China is fueling Africa's rising poaching trade. Conservationists fear the ivory demand will drive elephants to extinction.