Bush-meat trade threat to tourism, official says

By Renson Mnyamwezi

Taita-Taveta, Kenya: Some wildlife species are facing extinction due to widespread subsistence poaching in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) in Taita-Taveta County.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has expressed fear that the on-going bush meat trade in local ranches was adversely affecting tourism and needs to be addressed.

TCA Assistant Director Robert Obrein said the animals targeted by the illegal hunters included warthogs, zebras, impala and dik dik among other small game in the region.

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He noted that a recent resource inventory carried out in nine ranches by KWS show declining numbers of the animals in the area.

In some of the ranches, the survey shows that such wildlife species had completely been wiped out by the poachers.

 Resource Inventory

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“We are still waiting for funds to carry out another resource inventory in the 20 remaining ranches. The exercise will help us determine the number of remaining wildlife in the ranches worst hit by poaching activities,” he said.

The conservation body had conducted a feasibility study to map out resources that are of conservation importance in the region.

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Obrein said the study targets biodiversity resources such as reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals and various plant species as well as potential tourism products.

He disclosed that the three-month phase one study conducted in local ranches cost more than Sh1.2 million.

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Kenya Wildlife Service Taita Taveta Tsavo KWS