Thursday, August 24, 2017

CS Wakhungu holding a copy of the report during the launch.

The government through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has launched a Wildlife Migratory Corridors and Dispersal Areas report, which has identified and mapped out wildlife habitats and migratory routes in the country.

While inaugurating the findings at Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters in Nairobi, Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said the document also suggests salient recommendations on strategies for securing the dispersal areas and migratory corridors within the specific context of different regions and landscapes.

Prof Wakhungu said that although wildlife dispersal areas and migratory corridors are mainly found on human and livestock dominated landscapes, they form important habitat connectivity that links the animals to their resources such as food, water, and breeding sites.

The Cabinet Secretary said that with over 25,000 species of wild animals and 7,000 species of wild plants, Kenya is ranked as one of the biodiversity rich countries in the world.

“We are proud as a nation and a people to have over 50 protected areas, across all ecosystems in the country to ensure the diversity of wildlife and its beauty is preserved for present and future generations,” she said.

However Prof Wakhungu acknowledged that there is a significant proportion of the country’s wildlife living outside the protected areas.

The Cabinet Secretary attributed the hurdle to the ever increasing human population, saying it has created a high demand for land as well as exerting an incredible amount of pressure and threats to wildlife and other biodiversity types in the country.

She pointed out that human encroachment on critical biodiversity sites in search of agricultural land has over the decades shifted to low potential rangelands and forests which coincidentally are the prime wildlife habitats.

“This has created problems including competition for pasture and water resources, habitat fragmentation and blockage of wildlife migratory routes and dispersal areas,” added the Cabinet Secretary.

Prof. Wakhungu said that most of the habitat connections have been disrupted by or lost to human activities and their restoration will greatly increase ecosystem resilience and space for wildlife, while enhancing conservation and reducing human-wildlife conflicts.

She announced that several interventions have been adopted to avert and reduce wildlife declines, notably through securing dispersal areas and migratory corridors, strengthening and investing in local communities and landowners to create and develop community and private wildlife conservancies alongside diversification of rural livelihoods through benefits from ecosystem services.

Prof. Wakhungu said the proposed Conservation Connectivity Framework suggests a number of mechanisms including legal and economic among others to be used to engage local communities, private land owners, counties, and national government in a collaborative process for securing critical wildlife areas.

The launch of the report which was spearheaded by the Ministry in collaboration with other conservation stakeholders who included Nature Kenya, African Conservation Centre among others comes in the backdrop of the escalating wildlife loss in Kenya, with a drastic decline of some wildlife populations by 67 percent between the year 1977 and 2013……..read More

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