NAIROBI, May 3 (Xinhua) -- China will lend support toward protection of Africa's wildlife heritage, officials said on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) conference here.
Meng Xianlin, the Executive Director General of the endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora Import and Export Management Office, said Beijing is committed to helping African countries respond effectively to wildlife crimes.
"Sino-Africa friendly relations are not solely focused on economic issues but have also placed emphasis on wildlife conservation," Meng said.
"We have signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with several African countries to strengthen wildlife protection," he added.
The Chinese and Kenyan governments co-hosted a side event on combating illegal trade on wild flora and fauna through cooperation in law enforcement during the 56th AALCO forum.
Meng said that besides lending financial support, China has been providing capacity building for African law enforcement officers to enhance their capacity to investigate and prosecute wildlife crimes.
"Our bilateral cooperation with African governments in the wildlife sector has revolved around provision of equipment and exchange programs with state officers in charge of protecting wildlife," said Meng.
He noted the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit that took place in Johannesburg in December 2015 elevated Beijing's involvement in Africa's wildlife conservation initiatives to new levels.
China has provided technical support to African countries to boost crackdown on criminal networks involved in poaching.
Meng said Beijing has also prioritized public awareness targeting its citizens living in Africa to boost their appreciation of wildlife species.
"We have been encouraging Chinese citizens living in Africa to respect local environmental laws and make a positive contribution to wildlife protection in the continent," Meng told Xinhua.
Head of Chinese delegation to the AALCO 56th Annual Session Xu Hong said Beijing will support African countries to develop robust legal framework to combat wildlife crimes.
"Combating illegal trade in wildlife products is critical to sustain the health of ecosystems in Africa," Xu remarked, adding that China will not waver in its support for global efforts to eradicate poaching of Africa's giant mammals.