The Kenyan government has been urged to resolve the ongoing invasion of private wildlife conservancies by herders in Kenya’s Laikipia county to prevent an escalated human-wildlife conflict.
The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) says if unresolved, the crisis may have far-reaching negative impacts on wildlife conservation in the area as well as the economy.
EAWLS Executive Director Julius Kamau noted that the sanctuaries which are home to some of the most pristine natural resources including wildlife, forests and wetlands have been symbols of the much needed conservation efforts in Kenya.
“They have provided perfect conditions for the thriving of most wildlife species as pressure from tourism affects our national parks and reserves. We condemn in the strongest terms possible all illegal activities that seek to damage the ecosystems in the private sanctuaries,” he added.
Mr. Kamau added that the Laikipia ecosystem has one of the highest concentration of wildlife and more endangered wildlife species than anywhere else in Kenya. He lamented that this was an area of great conservation value whose fate is largely in the hands of its residents and their peaceful co-existence but has been under great pressure especially due to the prolonged drought ravaging most parts of the country.
“Kenya's services sector, which contributes about 63 percent of GDP, is dominated by tourism that thrives through conservation efforts in the private wildlife sanctuaries. We would like to appeal to the Ministries of Interior and Coordination; Environment and Natural Resources and the County Government of Laikipia to move with speed and resolve the standoff that has led to loss of property; disturbance to wildlife and loss of lives; people displacement and school closure. These invasions will lead to more casualties and wildlife fatalities. Poachers may also leverage on this as an opportunity to kill more wildlife especially elephants and rhinos for their own personal gains,” Mr. Kamau noted
EAWLS is calling for continued efforts to promote peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife and respect the laws and policies that govern the management and protection of biodiversity and natural resources.