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KWS hit by acute shortage of researchers

The CS for Tourism Najib Balala is introduced to the new board members of Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) when he toured KSW training institute in Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga]  

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is facing an acute shortage of scientists.

This has adversely affected its research and conservation works on endangered species.

The government agency, whose key mandate is to conserve national parks and conduct wildlife research has 67 scientists, majority on their way to retirement against a demand of over 500.

In 2018, Tourism CS Najib Balala suspended six scientists following the deaths of 10 rhinos after they were moved to Tsavo National Park.

There is, however, hope that this could be solved after the ministry formed the Wildlife Research and Training Institute to be located in Naivasha.

According to the PS in the ministry, Fred Segor, the country lacked a coherent research framework for wildlife. He noted that inadequate and lack of appropriate scientific information jeopardised effective conservation of natural resources.

“Majority of people doing wildlife research in Kenya have a personal stake and we need to put research priorities first for the management of wildlife in the country,” he said.

Speaking at KWS Training Institute in Naivasha, where the institute will be located, Segor called on the new board to develop a research agenda within six months.