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Roan antelope.

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2020 WWD Kenya chapter emphasizes on conserving the endangered Roan Antelopes

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala is expected to lead Kenya's celebration of World Wildlife Day. The theme for this year's celebration is, "Sustaining all Life on Earth" that will be hosted at Homa Bay County's Ruma National Park.

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people.

It was first celebrated in 1945.

Ruma National Park is home to the endangered Roan Antelope. Other countries that have Roan Antelopes include Angola, Botswana, southern Democratic Republic of Congo, central and northern Malawi, and Zambia (southern Africa).

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Roan antelopes can be found in savannas — primarily in West and Central Africa. They prefer open or lightly wooded grassland, with medium to tall grass, and water access.

The climax of today's event at Ruma, will be the launch of the Roan Antelope Recovery Plan (2020-2030) and Tree Planting.

One objective of the Roan Antelope recovery and action plan is to restore an initial viable roan antelope population to at least 50 individuals by 2023 and maintain a minimum growth rate of at least 5 percent per annum thereafter.

The Roan Antelope Recovery Plan proposes the establishment of community conservancies and the reintroduction of the roan into the conservancies as an approach of expanding their range and managing the population.

The recovery plan recognises the need for conservation approaches that integrate policy, biological, environmental and socio-economic considerations. The plan also includes providing incentives for local communities to realise recovery of the species in Ruma National Park and other former ranges.

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The decline of Roan Antelope has been attributed to habitat loss due to the conversion of former roan range to farmlands and settlement areas, poaching, predation, effects of climate change exhibited through prolonged and frequent droughts and frequent fires.

The action plan includes

Provision of water to the community outside the park to prevent them from getting into the park and in the pretext of getting water therein, deploy snares or undertake subsistence poaching

Establishment of a roan antelope intensive monitoring program to ensure all the remaining roans are accounted for every month

Establishment of a roan antelope predator-free sanctuary to prevent predation of the roan antelope

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The United Nations' Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also urged the world to champion the course of wildlife sustainability.

"Let us remind ourselves of our duty to preserve and sustainably use the vast variety of life on the planet. Let us push for a more caring, thoughtful and sustainable relationship with nature," Guterres said.

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