Star (Kenya)

Jul. 27, 2017, 12:00 am

A giraff e in the Amboseli National Park on August 26, 2016 /REUTERS /GORAN TOMASEVIC
A giraffee in the Amboseli National Park on August 26, 2016 /REUTERS /GORAN TOMASEVIC

Most wildlife dispersal areas and migratory corridors in Kenya are under threat as they have been interfered with by human activities, and some have even been blocked, a reports says.

The Wildlife Corridors and Dispersal Areas report was launched yesterday at the Nairobi National Park’s Ivory Burning site by Environment CS Judi Wakhungu.

It paints a bleak future for wildlife if urgent action is not taken.

It says wildlife populations within the Athi-Kaputiei area and curtailment of their movement from the Kajiado plains into the Nairobi National Park are results of the high-density settlements, fences and subdivision of land along the Kitengela-Namanga highway.

“The main threats to habitat connectivity are incompatible land use in wildlife areas, including expansion of crop cultivation along the rainfall gradient, high-density settlements, fences, mining and quarrying, woodland clearing, wetland drainage, high-density livestock presence, and poaching,” the 218-page report states.

The rapidly escalating human population and high levels of rural poverty are mainly to blame. These are often associated with land tenure and land use change, sedentarisation, sub-divisions, and habitat fragmentation.

A total of 58 migratory routes and corridors were identified in the southern Kenya rangeland ecosystems — Maasai-Mara ecosystem ( 17 ), Eburu Forest and Lakes Naivasha-Elmentaita-Nakuru conservation and ecological area ( 8 ), Athi-Kaputiei and Nairobi National Park ( 7 ), South Rift ( 8 ), Amboseli and West Kilimanjaro ( 8 ), and the Tsavo Conservation Area ( 10 ).

Fifty-two migratory routes or corridors were identified in the northern Kenya rangelands and coastal terrestrial ecosystems, with the majority found in the greater Ewaso ecosystem.

More salient routes and corridors used by other wildlife species also exist in the rangelands, but were not considered and need further investigation.

Wakhungu said securing corridors and migratory areas is a priority. “Tourism is 75 per cent dependent on wildlife. To continue benefitting from wildlife, we must set aside wildlife corridors and dispersal areas,” she said, adding that the report will be implemented.

KWS board chairperson Richard Leakey challenged politicians to make use of reports that have been generated.

Migration is essential for sustaining the resilience of large animal populations in the face of variable rainfall, which is highly correlated to availability and shortage of forage.

Several interventions have been suggested to avert and reduce wildlife declines, notably through securing dispersal areas and migratory corridors.