The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) has voiced its objection to the proposed Bosto Dam construction inside the South-West Mau Forest Reserve. The proposed dam in Bomet County to be built by the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation is a threat to the critical ecosystem that hosts rich biodiversity, the EAWLS has argued.
EAWLS, KFWG and its several partner conservation organisations have jointly submitted their comments on the ESIA study report of the proposed project to the Director General, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). In their submission the consortium strongly objected to the approval of the ESIA study report by NEMA. The report which proposed that the project be situated inside the forest reserve.
In its letter to NEMA, the consortium pointed to a misleading statement in the Environmental and Social Impact Study Report on the dam that states that the project will be located some kilometres away from the edge of Mau Forest, yet, according to the coordinates provided, it is clear that the dam will be located within South-West Mau Forest Reserve.
The study fails to account for the exact total forest land area to be affected, but acknowledges that there will be loss of parts of the indigenous forest when access roads and a water pipeline are constructed. That would militate against Kenya’s effort to expand the country’s forest cover to 10 percent.
“We appreciate the importance of dam construction as a source of water that supports rural livelihoods and spurs economic growth,” said Julius Kamau, EAWLS Executive Director. “However, we strongly object to the proposed location of the Dam.”
“Some glaring omissions of key main stakeholders like the National Land Commission (NLC) and Community Forest Association in the preliminary stakeholder mapping puts into question the level of stakeholder participation in the EIA Report preparation process,” said Mr. Kamau.
“EAWLS has learnt that some other three dams have also been proposed to be constructed inside forests in different part of the country. Such attempts must be objected as they are in direct contravention of the forest conservation and management Act, and negate the intent of the constitution that provide for 10% forest cover,” said Mr. Kamau.
World Oceans Day marked
The World Oceans Day was marked on 8 June 2017 with the theme being “Our oceans, our future”.
Oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and regulate climate. They are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income and serve as the backbone of international trade.
Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.
This year’s Day was celebrated alongside the first-ever The Ocean Conference at UN Headquarters in New York. The conference aimed to strengthen commitments to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 14 – to conserve and viably use the ocean.
Kenya made a positive move in an effort to tackle plastic pollution when it recently announced a ban on the manufacture and use of plastic bags that litter much of the country. The ban is due to take effect on 28 August. If successful the measure could go a long way in reducing the amount of plastics that up in the Indian Ocean through Kenyan rivers.
East African Wild Life Society’s (EAWLS) Executive Director, Julius Kamau, on 12 June 2017 represented the Society in the launch of consultations that will culminate in the formulation of Kenya’s National Wildlife Conservation and Management Strategy.
The launch of the process by Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, at a breakfast meeting in Nairobi will lead to the creation of the strategy, which is provided for under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, and aligns with the country’s Vision 2030 development blueprint, as wells as other relevant policy and legal frameworks.
The strategy will also provide a coordinated framework for national wildlife conservation and management, in accordance with the various land tenure systems of public, community and private.
The strategy aims to:
- Set national targets and indicators for viable and sustainable wildlife and habitat conservation over the coming decades;
- Secure wildlife habitats, dispersal areas and corridors and promote evidence-based integrated planning to enhance wildlife conservation across terrestrial, fresh-water and marine environments;
- Stop poaching and illegal wildlife trade, and strengthen the inter-agency collaboration in the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) in dealing with illegal wildlife trade;
- Address strategies to avoid and mitigate human-wildlife conflict
- Establish and implement national long-term wildlife conservation and management funding and monitoring and reporting systems; and
- Strengthen cooperative management of wildlife resources by the national and county governments, communities, individual landowners and other stakeholders.
The strategy formulation process is being spearheaded and coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The process will build on past and present policies, practices, regulations, amendments, and strategies to ensure coherence.
The process will review existing strategies and document best practices nationally and internationally, use focus group discussions, seek technical input from experts and organise key stakeholder consultations and broad public participation.
The second edition of the national census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra, dubbed Great Grevy’s Rally (GGR), took place on January 27 and 28, 2018 in Laikipia, Isiolo and Samburu counties. The two-day photographic census is to monitor the status and health of the iconic mammal in Kenya. The count also included reticulated giraffe, another species whose population has declined greatly in the past three decades.
EAWLS team joined other participants at this year’s GGR and were at Ol Pejeta Conservancy where almost all Grevy’s zebra in the country are found. EAWLS wildlife programme profiles Grevy’s zebra as one of the priority species for conservation.
This year’s event brought together 118 teams comprising of conservancy managers, county government officials, community members, local residents, foreign visitors and conservationists who collectively drove over 25,000 kilometres and took over 40,000 photographs.
The event utilizes technology which can uniquely identify each zebra using the stripes in a photograph, much the same way we use fingerprints to identify individual humans. Analysing the photographs gives not just the population size but also age, sex and relative health of each animal. Kenya is home to over 90 per cent of the world’s remaining Grevy’s zebra, and the 2016 census found the population to be at 2,350.