Nairobi meeting helps establish framework to facilitate elephant conservation in Kenya
The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Kenya Elephant Forum, on 27th November 2013, convened a breakfast meeting of stakeholders in wildlife conservation and management to discuss the importance of working together and sharing information.
The meeting, held at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, was graced by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry Prof. Judi Wakhungu who during her key note address highlighted the importance of using participatory approaches to coordinate all stakeholders. She emphasized the importance of stakeholders using accurate statistics when referring to the elephant population and when indicating the number of elephants poached to avoid speculation and sensationalism.
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Her remarks also resonated with IFAW’s Elephant program strategy on the importance of securing space for the elephants through leasing land from local communities and subsequently establishing sanctuaries and conservancies which could be of social, economic and environmental benefit to the communities and the environment. She highlighted the importance of conducting research to determine the interaction of animals and people to design security interventions which mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
Her remarks were motivating to IFAW in light of an elephant collaring activity which had been scheduled for the first week of December.
Collaring of elephants is a critical component of research to determine elephant migratory corridors and dispersal areas with an aim of mitigating human wildlife conflict and determining weather-driven patterns of elephant migration.
During the plenary session Daniel Leturesh, the Chairman of Ol’gulului/Ol’lalarashi Group Ranch which has partnered with IFAW in leasing 16,000 acres of land in the Amboseli ecosystem, made an appeal to Prof. Wakhungu:
“I would like to request the government to set aside resources to lease out land for wildlife. Over 85% of wildlife is on community land, and we as the owners of the land would like to be compensated so that we can conserve the environment and the animals.”
In her response, Prof. Wakhungu requested the stakeholders engage with the Ministry of Lands for this initiative as well as partner with county governments to develop conservancies at county level which would be beneficial to communities in offering employment.
During the meeting, a select core group was given the responsibility of developing a framework to facilitate conservation organizations to work together in addressing the challenges facing wildlife conservation in Kenya.
IFAW pledged to facilitate subsequent meetings of this core group.
Now more than ever before, wildlife, especially rhinos and elephants, need a single voice to articulate their plight and reverse their current predicament.
IFAW is privileged to play a role in making this happen.