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Wildlife sanctuaries boost peace among Pokot, Turkana

Thursday April 25 2019

Community conservancies

A rhino at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Community conservancies are playing a pioneering role in restoring peace along the volatile West Pokot-Turkana border. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OSCAR KAKAI
By OSCAR KAKAI
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Community conservancies are playing a pioneering role in restoring peace along the volatile West Pokot-Turkana border.

The area is prone to armed conflict, which has led to deaths and destruction of property.

Although fresh attacks have been reported in the past two months, the area has enjoyed relative peace for three years.

But residents have started benefiting from community conservancies through wildlife conservation, improved livelihoods and restoration of peace between the Pokot and Turkana.

PROMOTE PEACE

The Pello and Masol community conservancies have been established to promote peace with the help of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT).

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The areas that have benefited from the conservancies are Akiriamet, Akulo, Amolem, Lochakula, Kainuk and Sarimach.

Speaking Thursday during a peace meeting in Akiriamet in Masol Ward, NRT North Rift Coordinator Titus Peghin observed that the conservancies have played a major role in restoring endangered wildlife species, creating jobs, and ending human-wildlife conflicts in the area.

Mr Peghin said the conservancies have promoted peace by improving security for both the people and wildlife.

ECONOMIC POTENTIAL

He noted that the area has great economic potential with many untapped resources, and he invited investors to the region.

“We have realised tremendous development in the area and poaching has decreased since we started the programme in 2014,” he said, adding that the area needs tourist attractions.

Mr Peghin said NRT has employed 33 rangers to provide information on the security situation, which has led to a reduction in human-wildlife conflicts, and seen the county and national governments initiate irrigation projects.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

“We make sure elephants don’t destroy crops,” he said.

Meanwhile, Masol Ward Representative Ariong’o Loprena said conservancies have improved conflict resolution and tamed cattle rustling, banditry and poaching.

He said the nature reserves have increased opportunities for creating wealth and jobs through tourism and a variety of economic activities.

Mr Joseph Lorengelech, the chairman of the Masol Conservancy, said the sanctuaries have transformed the lives of the youth in the area.

Residents have welcomed the prevailing peace, saying economic progress is now possible and poverty will be reduced.

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