Twenty Seventeen is here with us. We seam to be back in the dark days and moments of Rhino and elephant poaching in Kenya amidst all the security measures and education awareness.
We have started the New Year with despondent news of Rhinos and elephants poaching, increased human-wildlife conflict among other challenges. Most of the African Nations is applauding Chinese country to making a declaration to end the stockpiles by 2017; this is a good move and its viewed as a New Year gift to African countries.
Some one was quoted saying that poaching in Kenya have reduced by 80% last year, its very sad that this year we have lost 6 Rhinos from Ngulia Sanctuary in Tsavo West National, Nakuru National park and in Ruma National Park. It has been reported that we have also lost a quite number of elephants in Tsavo, Meru among other areas in Kenya . Just to remind you that all Kenyan Rhinos are within captivity so to say or have high security surveillance within their protected sanctuaries unlike the elephants that are free ranging. However the question here stand! Who are this daring the security and with whose supervision; Nakuru Rhino poaching was done at noon and on a Sunday: In this year we have lost people, livestock’s, property damage in areas adjacent to Parks, migration routes and in dispersal areas. Two people were killed end of the year and beginning of the year in Taita Taveta and one in Kajiado by elephants. In 2013 December H.E the President of Kenya signed to law “ A new Wildlife and Conservation Act, in this Act all claims that includes death, injuries, property damage, crop raiding and predation can be compensated not by KWS but by National Government through Treasury. In every county in Kenya there is a committee on wildlife and compensation gazetted by CS Environment Natural Resource and according to the ACT they are supposed to work monitor the damage and provide the information to KWS for further compensation process. This committee have no financial support leave alone the goodwill support from local communities and the animosity will continue rising if they don’t manage the compensation among other duties. In the last 3 years no claims have been compensated and the government owed 5billion Ksh to the appellants from different areas in Kenya according to the claims. Human-wildlife Conflict are very high in areas such as Makueni, Taita Taveta, Lamu, Kajiado and in Laikipia, most of these areas have no protected areas or parks and became very difficult for KWS to manage the wildlife.
This is a truth of the matter; KWS is currently under funded and most people that include field officers in operation are frustrated and dispirited. It’s becoming difficult even to do any operation in the field for lack of field resources that include serviceable vehicles and aircraft. KWS get her operation budget from revenue collection and from Treasury. This financial rationing have been in existence for the last 3 year now, there have been some air-crafts that have crushed due to poor maintenance hence they must be out for work. We are now entering into elections and campaigns, who is going to listen to the cry of our wildlife and her managers! Where do we place Wildlife Conservation in Kenya?
Just few days after New Year, NEMA issued a licenses allowing standard gauge railway be constructed through Nairobi National Park . Kenyan and Global conservationist had tried to stop this move using all means and its seams that there is no way out we have to manage the outcomes. The distracted move came when KWS Chairman and the founder of KWS Dr Richard Leakey in his interview by BBC between other International and National media houses embraced the construction of the railway through the park.