NAIROBI, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) said on Monday it has received 190,000 U.S. dollars from U.S.-based research institution to establish a forensic and genetic laboratory.
The Sackier Institute for Comparative Genomics of the American Museums of Natural History Director Dr. George Amato said the forensic laboratory will be a state-of-the-art facility and a regional referral center for molecular diagnostics of wildlife- related crimes.
"Once complete, the forensics and molecular biology laboratory is expected to enhance studies in population genetics and reduce poaching activities by providing credible prosecutorial evidence in court," KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Amato was speaking during a luncheon hosted in honor of a KWES delegation to the United States who also pledged to support training, collaborative research, exchange programs and equipment for the laboratory.
KWS director Julius Kipng'etich is leading a delegation of KWS officers to develop partnerships to support the authority's Fund as well as raise funds for the planned forensic laboratory to be set up at KWS headquarters in Nairobi.
The KWS delegation is also lobbying US-based wildlife conservation groups and the U.S. Congress on Kenya's position at the forthcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Kipng'etich noted increased partnership between Kenya and America, especially with the Institute, had increased tremendously as KWS was keen on using science-based decision making in management.
Kipng'etich also underscored the need for Kenya to be able to prove cases of bush meat trade and identifying contraband wildlife products at the airports and other ports of entry and trace their countries of origin.
During the meeting, Amato noted that KWS had made significant achievements in the last eight years and was proud to partner with it.
The Sackier Institute for Comparative Genomics is the premier American research center for wildlife conservation genetics, molecular ecology, wildlife forensics, small population biology and training of graduate student. It also holds the world's largest frozen tissue depository center.
During the meeting, a number of US-based business executives pledged to support the Kenya Wildlife Service Endowment Fund by becoming its ambassadors.
Michael Emmerman, Managing Director of Newbewrger Berman, a major finance and investing company, pledged to support the fund.
Other pledges came from Drew Kellerman Deutscher Bank - African investments, Tom Mims, the CEO of Emerging Africa and Bonnie Wiper, the president of Thinking Animals.