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Development and Conservation in Kenya.

Kenya is among the African countries where expansion of roads and construction of new ones are a trend among other infrastructural developments. There has been an uproar when the government introduces plans to implement this development with or without proper procedures and due diligence. Most of these projects are either implemented in the wildlife protected areas of adjacent to the parks. It is unfortunate that wildlife protected areas are still viewed as wasteland and any development can take place there anyway.

We have seen these kind of flaws for development of SGR, pipeline, Kengen among others which have been executed in Tsavo, Nairobi and Hell’s Gate National Park, with or without NEMA social and environmental studies. Wildlife conservation has not been considered or thought of as a source of income in Kenya. According to the Treasury, 12 % of Kenyan GDP comes from tourism. Tourism cannot outlive wildlife extinction, where this wildlife live in the Parks and others live outside these protected areas.

Conservationists and environmentalists have been demurring these developments but we seem to have lost the game. In most cases we table emotions instead of environmental and economic facts that can be cogitated and form a sustainable decision. I believe this is a chance to value our parks economically, I am sure its possible to carry out an Ecosystem Viable Analysis and economic valuation considering all the fauna and flora that tourist come to see.
Since the SGR and aligning of the pipeline along Tsavo National Park, we have seen so many animals and in particular elephants either killed or babies are separated from their mothers due to deep trenches or barriers. Early this year, 3 elephants were electrocuted in Tsavo and KPLC did not even apologise. There were dangling electric cables as of SGR construction. In Naivasha most of the ungulate species have ran away from Hell’s gate due to smoke and human interface in the ongoing geothermal exploration and so many truck vehicles in the park. Animals are highly sensitive and may take time for them to adapt to a new environment. These marauding animals have landed in the hands of hungry men, consequently bush meat trade has increased while others end up causing human-wildlife conflict. There have been a lot cases reported or unreported of wildlife dying or killed by vehicles in Tsavo leave alone young one separated from their mother’s due to these developments, thanks to David Sheldrick for giving them a future.
It’s only last week that a renowned male elephant nicknamed MacKinnon was found dead in Taita Ranch. The bull had been monitored for some years and was believed to be a brave and courageous elephant crisscrossing Taita Ranch and in the parks. It was not clear what exactly caused his death; he probably died due to dehydration that caused intestine blockage according to licensed vet officer. I know at some point SGR and road contractor had promised to remove the siltation from old dams and dug new one after leaving the construction site to provide water in Tsavo Park, none of them fulfilled their promises and no one followed them. During this season of drought in Tsavo some elephants mostly calves and lactating mothers died due inadequate water in the park thank God friends of Tsavo supported KWS in filling dams in the park and this saved elephants.
This morning a speeding truck killed an aged elephant in Mtito Andei, it’s believed that she was in a group of other female and was knocked when crossing the road. Kenya Wildlife Service have placed signage for motor vehicles to slow down along Mtito Andei , Tsavo River all the way to Manyani and this has been ignored . There has been a proposal to prosecute any driver who would case accident by knocking wildlife along this section. When will this be implemented? I am making an appeal to the Kenyans accept that wildlife has the right of surviving in Kenya and they feelings, what will you lose by breaking for them to cross! Can our Government support KWS by implementing this law before we lose our wildlife! I remember during my first walk from Mombasa to Nairobi I counted 8 hyenas, 6 zebras and over 10 impalas among other small mammals between this section knocked and killed by vehicles.( Photo credit . Facebook and Wildlife Works )

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