Conservation group to spend Sh7m on anti-poaching drive

By KIPCHUMBA KEMEI

Narok County: A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said rhino ear notching and taking of DNA samples would assist in monitoring animal movement using modern technology.

WWF Country Director Mohammed Awer said the organisation, Zoological Society of London, other international donors and the local private sector had devised a strategy to end poaching of rhinos which are listed as endangered species.

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Monitor rhinos

“We decided to launch the programme after realising that Narok County did not have the capacity  to monitor the rhinos, leaving them at the mercy of poachers. The microchips that will be inserted in their horns will make monitoring easy,” said Awer in Mara.

The fund, which is involved in species management and conservation, is collaborating with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Narok County government in the ear-notching exercise which targets 16 rhinos.

He said the exercise would also be undertaken in other national parks and game reserves.

Awer welcomed the recent passing of the Wildlife Management and Conservation Bill, saying it would deter poaching and enhance species conservation through field based programmes and management.

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“Though belated, the legislation will help in conservation of the remaining wild animals,” he said.

Meanwhile, tourists and other travelers were on Wednesday evening stranded for hours after flash floods cut off most parts of the Narok-Maasai Mara road.

The rains that started at 2pm and continued into the night flooded the Sekenani-Nkoilale section, making it impassable.

Most tourists, who were going to Maasai Mara Game Reserve, missed some of their schedules including the early evening game drive expeditions. There was also a huge traffic jam stretching about 10 km on both sides of the road.

The rains, which pounded Mara and neighbouring regions until midday yesterday, also disrupted morning hot air balloon take offs.

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Hoteliers confirmed that the rains, which have been pounding the area since the Sunday, had affected their businesses, but expressed hope that the situation would improve for their visitors to enjoy their stay.

“The rains have had some negative effects on tourism activities here. We are putting measures in place to ensure that tourists enjoy their stay and access packages they pay for,” said Moses Indeche, the manager of Sentrim tented camp.

Other hoteliers who spoke to The Standard asked Narok County to fix roads inside and outside the national reserve, which they said have been neglected over the years.

“The poor state of the road network has on several ocassions caused  us to lose tourists to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania where the government has invested heavily on improvement of infrastructure on tourists circuits,” said Lily Waddington, the owner of Osero Camp within Siana Conservancy.

conservation agencyMaasai Maraanti-poaching drivenew technology