Thursday, August 22, 2013

Villagers ‘best bet at wildlife conservation’

Kenya Wildlife Service Deputy Director Biodiversity, Research and Monitoring Samuel Kasiki with KWS Director Julius Kipng'etich in the background at a press briefing on the status of wildlife in the country. Photo/FILE

Kenya Wildlife Service Deputy Director Biodiversity, Research and Monitoring Samuel Kasiki with KWS Director Julius Kipng'etich in the background at a press briefing on the status of wildlife in the country. Photo/FILE 

By NATION REPORTER

The involvement of local communities is the best way to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the country, conservationists have said.

Speaking during the Annual Carnivore Researchers Conference in Nairobi, participants from different wildlife conservancies, cited successes in various attempts to involve the immediate communities in taming the menace.

“The involvement of Maasai and Samburu warriors has greatly reduced this challenge, as they make direct contact with the members of the pastoralist community, therefore making it easier for them to directly participate in mitigating efforts,” said Ms Shivani Balla, a senior conservationist at Ewaso Lions’ Conservation Scheme in Samburu.

Great strides realised

She said great strides had been realised, adding that that had proved the best alternative.

The forum found that the main cause of increased human-wildlife conflict was the encroachment of wildlife habitats by humans due to demand for land for settlement as population levels continue to soar.

“The eventual result of this is erratic weather patterns, a situation that greatly reduces the number of herbivores, which is prey of carnivorous animals like lions. This forces them to invade livestock,” said Mr Tuqa Jirmo.

Poaching was also cited as a major blow to wildlife conservation efforts.

The participants called on the government to act tough on those caught interfering with conservation efforts.

Among other methods suggested was the use of specialized sensors, which scare off wild animals from human settlement areas.

The two-day conference was opened by Dr Samuel Kasiki, deputy director at Biodiversity Research and Monitoring.

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