World Wildlife Day (WWD) is celebrated on 3rd March annually since its proclamation during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. It is on this day in 1973 that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted with Kenya
becoming a signatory in 1992.
The Day is marked to create awareness of the status of the world’s wild flora and fauna. The Convection requires State parties to regulate the international trade of flora and fauna species to ensure their survival.
When you look into a pigeon’s life, it is all about the consumption of everything around them. Food and water are not just their environment; it is their habitat. Predators are always not very far away. Therefore, the pigeons always try to move to the rooftops or window panes and create nests, shelters, etc.
However, if there are too many pigeons gathering at one place, the hunters try to wipe them off. This is what has created a divide. Killing pigeons is not the answer; long-term pigeon control is. The federal governments of different countries are starting to look into this matter with full attention. The US government has stated that they are inclined to welcome the idea of innovative devices that ensure that pigeons do not create nests on top of the households in North Carolina. We can expect more steps to be taken in the future.
Pigeon Control is one of the main points in the world of wildlife. This section covers all the techniques and methodologies required for effective pigeon control in a society. We dive into them below:
Pigeons increase by at least a dozen per year. If there is more food at their disposal, they increase even more than that. However, there is a contraceptive that ensures the control of pigeon flocks. This is called Ovocontrol, also called “birth control” of pigeons. It minimizes hatching rates in pigeons. Eventually, it has an impact on the flock sizes and the problems associated with them. The Hawaii government has started taking this contraceptive to ensure the minimization of flock numbers.
- Long-Term Pigeon Control
Many people feel that the best idea to minimize the pigeon’s numbers is to kill them, which is wrong. The Avitrol brand poison is used by hunters to kill the pigeons. It is referred to as poison for the birds as when the birds consume it, they die. The wildlife hierarchy has strictly opposed the use of the Avitrol brand as well as other practices for removing and killing pigeons. The use of these practices may result in a prolonged killing of these species, which will do us no good.
- Do not leave our leftovers
If we talk about us human beings, even we do not do justice to our food. When we eat, we are left with leftovers and crumbs. Pigeons usually circulate the rooftops and window panes of the houses. When they see that an area with leftovers is close to their nest, they are quick to act.
To ensure that the pigeons do not gather in these areas, we must ensure cleanliness. We must ensure that we do not throw away the leftovers of our food on the roads. To discourage the pigeons from entering your area, you can change your schedule of feeding. If the pigeons keep coming back in the hope of leftovers, ensure that you do not feed for the next couple of weeks. Many people think that by doing this, the birds will die of hunger. This is not the case. When you start feeding again, you can put seeds in bird feeders and ensure cleanliness within your surroundings.
- Do not favor nesting
As we know that as the predators are always inclined to get their prey, pigeons try to act decisively by creating nests for shelter purposes. If you want to ensure that they do not have these options, create flat surfaces around your house. If the applications are implemented appropriately, the rooftops of your house can be pigeon-free.
Apart from this technique, certain devices ensure that places can be pigeon-free. You can create bird slides at an angle of 45 degrees from your windowpane to keep the pigeons from landing. You can set up bird wires, ensuring that the birds do not make it to the rooftops or railings. You can use netting to ensure that the pigeons do not gather in large numbers.
One of the ways which are strictly opposed by every wildlife hierarchy is the polybutylene gel. People use this sticky gel, use it upon the birds, which damages their feathers, and eventually creates a handicap situation for them. You should never try this in any way. The US government has stated that the polybutylene gel must not be used at any costs regarding pigeon control. This gel harms the bird physically and also reduces its tendency to stay waterproof. The polybutylene gel is harmful to small species and should be the last thing people should use for pigeon control.
Killing any animal is never the answer. It would be best if you found a balance between making the species leave your household and ensuring that they are safe from predators. This is what pigeon control brings to society.
A scrutiny of the ESIA report shows the proposed activities will cause irreversible damage to the forest ecosystem
By Nancy Ogonje, EAWLS Executive Director
Some 5,770 hectares of Bugoma Forest Reserve in western Uganda have reportedly been leased to Hoima Sugar Ltd who will clear the woodland to make way for a sugar plantation. The process of converting forestland into farmland is being carried out in blatant disregard of laws on environmental protection.
Some sources say that a Kenyan company, the Rai Group, is a shareholder in Hoima Sugar and is providing the necessary management expertise.
According to Uganda’s National Forest Authority (NFA), remote sensing surveys show that 190ha of the forest have already been degraded despite an injunction issued by the Uganda Cabinet stopping any clearing of woodland until the boundaries have been demarcated.
Bugoma Forest Reserve is a tropical natural forest that is rich in biodiversity, including endangered chimpanzees. It is also a water catchment for Lake Albert and a migratory corridor for wildlife. It was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 and placed under the management of NFA. The forest covers a total of 41,144ha.
The spectre of encroachment was unleashed in August 2016 when the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development issued a title deed for 5,770ha (about 22 square miles) of Bugoma Forest to Bunyoro-Kitara tribal kingdom without following the legal process of degazettement.
On August 14, 2020, Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) issued a certificate of approval to the Hoima Sugar Limited project. The permit was granted without the legally required involvement of the public in the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report. It is unfortunate that a state regulatory body mandated to protect the environment would endorse the destruction of a public forest to make way for a sugar plantation that benefits a private entity.
The Rai Group has a large footprint in the manufacture of wood products in East Africa, including Kenya, and has also been implicated in the destruction of the Mau Forest in Kenya through logging, according to press reports. Mau Forest is a key water tower. It is a catchment for crucial rivers such as the Ewaso Nyiro and the Mara rivers, whose volumes have been in decline, largely due to deforestation.
Allowing Hoima Sugar Limited to convert Bugoma Forest Reserve to a sugar plantation means a double gain for the shareholders of Hoima Sugar. Besides growing sugar, they will benefit from the sale of the mature timber in the cleared area. At an estimated value of $65,000 per hectare, Hoima Sugar will make a windfall gain of US $37.5 million from clearing the Bugoma Forest for sugar cultivation.
A scrutiny of the ESIA report shows that the proposed activities will cause great damage to the forest ecosystem. It does not make sense to destroy a natural forest and then seek to plant trees in the “buffer zones” as suggested in the ESIA report. Governments cannot purport to support ecosystem restoration and reverse biodiversity loss while destroying the environment for private profit.
The NFA has severally sued the Bunyoro Kingdom for aiding and abetting the encroachment of Bugoma Forest but lost both cases. The Commissioner of land registration even cancelled the title deed issued to the Kingdom in 2016 but the High Court reinstated the document on legal technicalities.
Handing back tracts of land to tribal kingdoms in Uganda does not allow them to lay claim to natural resources which still belong to the central government, but this is what is happening in Bugoma Forest.
The NFA is seeking a fresh hearing at the Court of Appeal and the East African Court of Justice and intends to submit new evidence. In the meantime, the contested forest area is being cleared with workers and equipment guarded by armed police, soldiers and private security guards, according to environmental activists who have visited the area.
An advocacy campaign “#SaveBugomaForest” has been initiated by local civil society organisations that have the support of several European Union envoys. To complement that effort, the East African Wild Life Society has developed a petition that seeks to compel Hoima Sugar Limited to stop converting Bugoma Forest to a sugar plantation.
The British High Commission invited the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) to exhibit at the launch of the Year of Climate Action (YoCA). The event was held on 3rd November, 2020 at Amani Grounds in Karura Forest.
In the run up to 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UK and Kenya are jointly carrying out activities to inspire positive action and engagement on climate change across Kenya.
The UK co-hosted the public launch of the YoCA with the Government of Kenya (Ministry of Environment and Forestry). They jointly urged the private sector, civil society and the youth to undertake concerted efforts to combat climate change. Using the YoCa platform, both the UK and Kenya’s institutions will have an opportunity to develop a robust narrative on what a clean, resilient post COVID-19 recovery will look like in Kenya. The success of the recovery will be gauged through an analysis of implications in terms of investment required and jobs created in key sectors — clean energy, green affordable housing, decarbonised manufacturing and sustainable forestry.
The purpose of the Year of Climate Action is to set the narrative for the 12 months before CoP26 in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021, highlighting the importance of a clean and resilient recovery from COVID-19, creating lasting jobs, and a focus on long-term sustainability rather than just quick recovery regardless of cost to the environment. It will entail collaborating with relevant stakeholders to scale up actions that will raise awareness on climate change and showcase innovative solutions to address climate challenges.
Key Attendees were:
a) Senior UK and Kenya Government Officials (Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment Dr. Chris Kiptoo and Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Dr. Patrick Njoroge); Green Businesses; Youth Climate Leaders & Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
b) Eight organisations showcasing their work (Globeleq, Azuri Technologies, Diageo, Acorn, Ceriops, Takataka Solutions, East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) and Daraja – Kounkuey Design Initiative)
The Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in partnership with Nature Kenya undertook a national review of the implementation of Participatory Forest Management and recommended developing regulations to enhance community participation. To achieve that objective, a team was set up to draft the regulations and present them to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for approval.
The Ministry, through a notice published in the September 18 issue of the Daily Nation newspaper, called on stakeholders, including the public, to submit comments on the Draft Regulation of Forests (Community Participation in Sustainable Forest Management) Rules 2020. Rules, also known as subsidiary legislation, are meant to operationalize an Act of Parliament. This is because Acts of Parliament do not usually go into the finer implementation details and require subsidiary legislation to facilitate enforcement.
In response to the public notice, the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS), through the Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG) convened a virtual meeting of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to review the rules. Seventeen CSOs participated in the meeting and the following are some of the key comments and recommendations from the meeting.
- The Rules speak more about public forests and leave out other types of forests, particularly community forests. They should therefore encompass all types of forests, including Mangroves and the coastal ‘Kaya’ woodlands.
- The interpretation of Community Forest Associations (CFAs) in the Rules is different from that in the Forests Conservation and Management Act, 2016. It is therefore, important that reference is made to the Act with regard to this interpretation.
- A community is not clearly defined hence the need to explicitly define what a community is for operational definition. It has always been argued that Section 63 (1) of the Kenyan constitution provides the basis for defining a community but does not precisely say what constitutes a community. That section can therefore provide guidance in defining a community in the context of forests.
- The transfer of rights of the CFAs need to be clearly explained. In this regard, it should be indicated whether the transfer of rights by CFAs is absolute or of a defined period of time. Besides, there should be criteria to guide the preference of one CFA over another in cases where more than one CFA exists in one forest block. Furthermore, what will be the fate of the CFA that is not selected yet it had put a number of mechanisms in place for its existence?
- The Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) should not be solely responsible for the registration of a CFA. The process should be rather subjected to a committee. In this regard, what is contained in the Rules should reflect what is in the Forests Conservation and Management Act, 2016, which states that it is the community that shall facilitate the formation of CFAs and not KFS.
- Preparation of Forest Management Plans should not be a preserve of KFS. CFAs should also take part in the process.
- A Forest Conservancy is too large and nominating only one person to sit in a Forest Conservation Committee (FCC) is too limited. It was proposed that the number of representatives from a conservancy should revert to four as it was in the Forest Act, 2005. The nomination should also consider gender balance.
- The funding cycle for CFAs should be defined, including consideration for funding their activities. This is because CFAs are required to do a lot in forest conservation yet they have very limited resources. They are often demoralized and need to be re-energized and their potential unlocked. Fees collected by CFAs and channeled to KFS, for example, grazing fees and those related to Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) activities should be included in these Rules.
The EAWLS wishes to thank all stakeholders who participated in the meeting. Moving forward, the EAWLS will consolidate all these comments and put them into a Memorandum that will be submitted to the Ministry by the due date of 17th October 2020.
Nairobi 11th October – In a move hailed by conservationists in Uganda, the country’s lawmakers have unanimously rejected the government’s plan to construct a hydropower dam at the country’s biggest tourist attraction.
Backed by a report by the parliamentary committee on environment, the lawmakers unanimously adopted the report’s rejection of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development’s proposal to build a 360MW at Uhuru Falls on Murchison Falls national park aimed at boosting the country’s electricity supply in order to achieve the “desired socio-economic transformation”, per Uganda’s vision 2040.
“Whereas the benefits of hydroelectricity are numerous, the country needs to pursue means of sustainably utilizing its natural resources, a feat that requires a delicate balance of trade-offs,” said the report, presented by Keefa Kiwanuka, the committee’s chair.
“The Uhuru project, while promising to add to the generation capacity of the country, poses irreversible impacts on the already constrained Murchison Falls national park and other sectors of the economy,” it said.
Environmental groups, the tourism industry, and climate change networks have hailed the parliamentary decision. It remains to be seen whether Uganda’s cabinet will respect parliament’s recommendations.
Murchison Falls national park is home to some of the most famous and powerful waterfalls in the world and the site is responsible for a third of all tourism in Uganda. The area is listed as one of Unesco’s wetlands of international importance. But last June, Bonang Power and Energy, a South African company, applied for a license to build a 360MW hydro plant at Uhuru Falls – adjacent to Murchison Falls. It was a further blow to conservationists, already concerned that energy company Total E&P Uganda had been approved to develop six oilfields in the park.
The East African Wild Life Society urges the Ugandan government to invest in other, less impactful renewable sources of energy including solar, wind and biomass.
Plans to build a coal-fired power plant in the Kenyan Indian Ocean archipelago of Lamu have hit another setback with General Electric (GE) announcing its intention to exit an agreement to design, construct and maintain the plant because the American multinational is ending its involvement in the coal power market as it shifts to renewable energy.
Implementation of the project became doubtful in June 2019 when a Kenyan court ordered the cancellation of a licence issued to the implementer, Amu Power, after the tribunal found that the permit granted by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) was issued without due regard to all provisions of the laws governing the execution of such enterprises.
A critical review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the coal plant had revealed major inadequacies that range from inaccurate definition of the project scope, insufficient analysis of environmental impacts, incomplete technological options analysis and inadequate mitigation measures.
The proposed coal-fired power plant was expected to cost $2 billion in Kwasasi, an area that the proponents consider ‘remote’. It was intended to produce 1,050 Megawatt of coal-fired thermal electricity to contribute to the government’s blueprint for 5,000MW of affordable and reliable power on the national grid.
Environment protection groups, however, noted that Kwasasi is home to indigenous people, a fragile ecosystem for mangroves, fish, coral and other marine life. The coal plant has the potential to destroy more than just the aquatic life. It could also harm people’s health by contaminating both the air and water. It also posed a threat to Lamu as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the limestone and coral centuries-old architecture of the oldest settlement on the East African coast that has been continuously inhabited since the 13th century.
“Kenya’s pursuit of its ambitious carbon reduction goals through clean energy cannot be derailed by a coal-powered plant that is harmful to people’s health and is environmentally destructive,” said Nancy Ogonje, Executive Director, East African Wild Life Society.
“We urge Amu Power and other investors in the Lamu coal power plant to renew their commitment to environmental health and deliver clean energy solutions for consumers to create long-term, sustainable value for all stakeholders,” she added.
A lobby from the petroleum industry in the United States is reportedly urging Washington to influence Kenya to water down its legislation against plastic waste in an effort to ensure that the East African country continues to import large quantities of plastic garbage from the US. The two countries are currently negotiating the terms of a bilateral commerce agreement aimed at boosting trade between them.
Documents reviewed by the New York Times contain a request from the American Chemistry Council – whose members include major oil companies – to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, demanding that Kenya reverses its strict limits on plastics.
American exporters shipped more than 1 billion pounds of plastic waste to 96 countries, including Kenya in 2019, ostensibly to be recycled, according to trade statistics. But much of the waste, often containing the hardest-to-recycle plastics, instead ends up in rivers and oceans, according to the New York Times report.
In 2017 Kenya outlawed the production, sale, and use of plastic bags with a maximum penalty of $40,000 or four years imprisonment. Before the ban, some 100 million plastic bags were handed out every year in Kenya by supermarkets alone.
The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) Executive Director, Nancy Ogonje, says that if Kenya is pressured to reverse course on plastic waste, the country’s efforts to combat plastic pollution for the benefit of its people and the environment will be greatly undermined. Kenya could also become a transit point for plastic waste from the West destined for dumping in other African countries.
“Less than 4 percent of plastic waste is recycled in Africa, and, unlike paper, glass, and metal, most plastic waste isn’t recycled into similar quality items. It is often downcycled into lower-quality plastics like insulation material, clothing fiber, and furniture – many of which are not easily recycled again,” Nancy Ogonje pointed out.
“The bulk of waste plastic that is not mechanically recycled is either sent to landfills or incinerated. This incineration process releases cancer-causing pollutants into the air and creates toxic ash, which also needs to be disposed of somewhere,” she added.
The East African Wild Life Society supports Kenya’s ban on single-use plastic and the upholding of the United Nations-backed Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The Convention obligates states to observe the fundamental principles of environmentally sound waste management and outlines limits on plastic waste entering low-and- middle-income countries.
In 2019, nearly every country in the world agreed to a new provision in the Basel Convention that aims to limit plastic waste pollution, but the United States was not among them, as it has not ratified the Convention.
Video courtesy: Cabinet Secretary Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala
EAWLS has learnt through a Facebook post by the Cabinet Secretary Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala, that a tented camp has been erected on the banks of the Mara River in the Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR), and that the camp is preventing migrating wildebeest from freely crossing the river.
In 2016, the Narok County Government commissioned the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) to conduct a comprehensive and independent audit of all tourist facilities within the Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR). The audit revealed some cases of non-compliance with laws, policies and regulations, especially those that relate to tourist facilities’ statutory requirements with regard to business registration, ownership and environmental management.
The audit established that as at 2016, the reserve had a total of 31 permanent tourist facilities, including 29 lodges and two camps, with a total bed capacity of 1,382. It was noted with great concern that in some facilities the bed capacity limit was breached during the peak seasons. The extent of that breach could not be established during the audit.
Not only did this audit contribute to the development of Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) management plan – which is yet to be gazetted – but it also presented some key recommendations.
The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 stipulates that no development project will be approved in the absence of a Management Plan that has been approved and gazetted by the Cabinet Secretary. The increasing number of tourist facilities built within MMNR in the absence of a gazetted Management Plan is alarming and is in contravention of the Act.
The MMNR is globally regarded as a premier wildlife viewing destination. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1989. In 2006 US broadcaster ABC News named MMNR the seventh New Wonder of the World. An expert panel at ABC’s Good Morning America programme cited the spectacle of the annual migration of more than a million wildebeests, half a million gazelles, and 200,000 zebras constantly on the move from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to MMNR in search of fresh grass and water. The Maasai Mara ecosystem holds up to 30 percent of Kenya’s wildlife.
To read the audit policy brief, click on this link: https://bit.ly/3hhiOq3
The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) participated in the review of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report of the proposed expansion of Ndaragwa Township.
Pursuant to registration 21 Environmental Management and Coordination (Impact Assessment and Audit ) Regulations 2003, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) had received the Environment Impact Assessment Study for this proposed expansion and was thus seeking comments from the public before issuing a license.
The proponent of the expansion of Ndaragwa Township, Honourable Jeremiah N. Kioni, is proposing to hive 300 acres off the Aberdare (Ndaragwa Block) forest to allow expansion of Ndaragwa Township in Ndaragwa Sub-County Nyandarua County.
In response, the East African Wild Life Society brought together stakeholders in the forest sector through the Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG) for a virtual meeting on 30th June 2020 to review the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report with the following observations:
- No specialist(s) on plants and animals was involved in the team conducting the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), hence the findings on the impacts of the project on biodiversity cannot be depended upon.
- The proposed greening of all the streets, parking areas and other infrastructure of the town using indigenous tree species found in the Aberdare Forest (Ndaragwa Block), in order to attract birds and other wildlife including monkeys back to the town fails to take into account that monkeys have the potential to become a menace in the town.
- Proof of public participation including signed participant lists that should be annexed to the report are missing. Photos do not qualify participation. Concerns about whether the participants were clearly informed of the impact of the decision have been raised.
- Stakeholder participation reports on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report are missing. These reports inform how stakeholder participation is conducted and indicates whether the relevant lead agency; Kenya Forest Service (KFS) was adequately consulted. It is also not clear whether other relevant lead agencies including the Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA), the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) were consulted.
- Considering the nature of the project, the level of authorizing officers should rank from the Ecosystem Conservator (EC) upwards. What appears in the report are the individual comments of a forest officer and a letter from the Director of Forests of the now defunct Department of forests of Nyandarua County. Additionally, comments from FCC (Forest Conservation Committee) should have been sought that would then have made recommendations to the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) board.
- The proponent of the expansion of Ndaragwa Township into Aberdare forest has not explicitly cover the impacts of cutting down the forest on the environment. For instance, as much as the proponent admits that variation of the boundary as proposed will significantly negatively affect all the three rivers (Mbombo, Pesi and the seasonal stream) the report does not go to further explain the ripple effect of this impact, say, to downstream users like the communities in Samburu County who will undoubtedly suffer water supply shortages.
- The proponent of the expansion of Ndaragwa Township into Aberdare forest has not considered total economic valuation of the forest and the subsequent economic loss of hiving off the forest. Forests provide direct and indirect benefits that should be quantified during conversion.
- The proponent has not explored alternatives/options to hiving off forest land. For example, there is a lot of private land that is available yet this land is not clearly shown on the map. The map only shows forest blocks.
- It has been determined and confirmed from the Ndung’u report that the land intended for the expansion of the town was illegally acquired.
- Expansion of the township would cause a lot of pressure on the adjacent forest ecosystem and many resources including but not limited to, fuel wood and water. For instance, the expansion will mean more people coming to settle-in hence increased demand for fuel wood and water.
- The ESIA report keeps referring to documents in the appendices yet they are not attached to the report hence difficult for reviewers to verify/make proper references.
- Hiving 162.52 acres of forest land in Nyandarua County will set a bad precedent for other counties who are likely to demand more forest land. This in contradiction to the government’s efforts, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, to recover areas of Mau and Ngong Road Forest.
With the above observations, the stakeholders concluded that conversion of the forest to a township will have un-repairable damage to the environment and lives of the people in the long run. They consequently opposed the conversion and urged NEMA NOT to approve the ESIA report. This position was stated in a Memorandum to NEMA which will be followed by lobbying the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) not to allow excision of the forest for the expansion of Ndaragwa Township.