Sunday, December 17, 2017

From left, CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu, PS Dr. Margaret Mwakima and KWS acting Director General during the unveiling of the great Northern aerial mammal census comprising Oslo Elephants buffalos, giraffes and gravy’s zebras of the Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit and Meru Ecosystem. The event was held at Hotel Sarova in Isiolo County.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has commenced Wildlife Survey in Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Meru Ecosystems, whose objective aims to determine the present status of mammal population size and their distribution since 2012.

While officiating the Aerial Review of Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffe and Grevy’s Zebra in Laikipia, Samburu, Marsabit and Meru ecosystem, Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu said the survey will assist the Government to determine the present status of the four animal species, establishment of poaching levels by counting aging Elephants and carcasses within the ecosystem alongside detailing the changes of mammals population size and their distribution since the last aerial review of 2012.

Prof. Wakhungu said the Aerial assessment also targets to sustain the long term monitoring of Elephants, Buffalos, Giraffes and Grevy’s Zebras in the four Counties.

She said the survey will primarily gather data on Elephants,Buffalos,Giraffes and Grevy’s Zebras as well as information on livestock including  Cattle, Shoats, Donkeys and Camel, adding that other data to be collected will entail locations of human activities involving logging, farming, settlements and Cattle boma visa-vi watering points.

CS said the information generated will further be used to guide policy issues in the conservation and management of wildlife in the ecosystem, which will incur corridor development and mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts.

“This will help assess their survival prospects, learn more about their ecology and survival chances in the face of various pressures, establish human-elephant conflict pressure points and the distribution of elephant carcass in the survey area,” Prof Wakhungu said.

“As a long term monitoring process, the survey data and information is valuable for effective management of the entire Laikipia, Samburu, Meru and Marsabit ecosystem which continues to experience pressures from human population growth and consequent changes in land use types”, Wakhungu added.

She stated that the census  will cover approximately 60,000 square kilometers and its results will provide information required to develop the State of Wildlife Monitoring Report as well as the National Status of Wildlife Conservation Reports expected to be submitted to Parliament after every five and two year’s respectively as per the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013.

Also present at the launch was State Department for Natural Resources Principal Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima who urged County governments to allocate resources for management of the County Reserves as well as activities like aerial surveys.

Dr. Mwakima said the initiative will enable County Reserve Managers to use science to appreciate the reserves they are managing on behalf of communities living in the County.

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