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Kenya’s achievements in wildlife conservation lauded by global trust

By Philip Mwakio | September 7th 2021

Tourism CS Najib Balala. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya’s track record in wildlife conservation has won accolades from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

“Kenya is leader in the approaches it has taken to conserve wildlife and the environment at large. There are so many good examples of efforts put in place by the Kenyan authorities. A recent example is the nationwide wildlife census whose results were recently released,” said IFAW global President and Chief Executive Officer Azzedine Downes.

In an interview at the Amboseli National Park Downes said their involvement in efforts to spearhead sustainable nature conservation in Kenya could soon spread to the fragile Kenya marine ecosystem, which at the moment is not covered.

“There are many marine sanctuaries along the Kenyan Coast and having our presence there is something that we would like to focus on,” Downes said.

He, however, did not give a time-frame on when they hope to set up camp in the Coast.

Dr James Isiche, IFAW Regional Director, said the recently released results of the wildlife census for the entire country is a good start for the country’s wildlife conservation efforts. “If you don’t have a baseline number of what you have, then you will not be in clear position to exactly know what you are losing,” he said.

Further, he lauded the national census report as a commendable initiative as it will help conservationists know where the wildlife are and in which particular locations within the ecosystem.

Elias Shoke (right), an elder, with teh all-female Lioness Ranger team at Olgulului-Ololarashi. [Robert Menza, Standard]

“There have been a number of tallying exercises like here in the Amboseli and other parts like Tsavo and the Mkomazi in Tanzania. However not all wildlife live in protected areas. It is further encouraging to hear from the Kenyan government that there shall be a national-wide wildlife census after every three years,” he said.

An official of the Olulugui Ololanashi Group Ranch in the Amboseli Eco-system, Elijah Keen Naini, welcomed the efforts to carry out a nationwide wildlife census saying that it will help in wildlife management as well as cracking down on poaching.

According to the census released last week, the country has a total of 36,280 elephants, a 12 per cent jump from the figures recorded in 2014, when poaching was at its peak.   

In March, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warned that poaching and habitat destruction, particularly due to land conversion for agriculture, was devastating elephant numbers across Africa.     

The population of African savanna elephants plunged by 60 per cent in the past half-century, prompting their reclassification as “endangered” in the latest update of the IUCN’s “red list” of threatened species.   

The state-funded survey counted 1,739 rhinos, including two northern white rhinos, 897 critically endangered black rhinos and 840 southern white rhinos.    

“Obtaining this level of information allows for better policy, planning and assessment of areas that require focus in our interventions to maintain or improve our national conservation efforts,” Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said.

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