IFAW, Kenya Wildlife Service to Enhance Tsavo National Park
The IFAW-KWS partnership will support in the purchase of vehicles for security patrols as well as for human-wildlife conflict management. The project will also increase and maintain road networks, build rangers’ houses, establish and renovate security bases and purchase radio communication systems for use in vast area that is considered the crown jewel of Kenyan wildlife habitat.
Speaking at the launch of the project at Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters in Nairobi, Vice President Awori said only Tsavo has sufficient space, and browse, to support diverse species and large numbers of wildlife adding that conservation was the ideal form of landuse for the semi-arid region. “Let us therefore spare no effort, or resource, to maintain this area as a safe sanctuary for our wildlife,” he said.
IFAW President & CEO Fred O’Regan said, “IFAW is proud to support Kenya’s recognition of wildlife as national heritage, deserving of protection for its cultural, educational, aesthetic and economic value. IFAW seeks to draw on the expanding global goodwill to channel support to partners such as the Kenya Wildlife Service and other like-minded wildlife institutions involved in this vital conservation project.”
The Chairman of KWS Board of Trustees Mr. Daniel Ndonye, while lauding the initiative from IFAW urged other development agencies to follow suit, saying Tsavo, a national asset, faced many varied challenges. “Bandits, bushmeat hunters and human wildlife conflict pose a serious threat to biodiversity within this ecosystem. To manage these threats, KWS needs rangers, fuel, aircraft and field worthy vehicles for effective patrols and anti-poaching operations,” he said.
IFAW’s partnership with KWS in Tsavo will cover six broad areas, namely: enhancement of basic park operations and infrastructure; law enforcement; human-wildlife conflict resolution; research; conservation education and community conservation.
Tsavo, some 300 kilometers from Nairobi is classified into two parks - East and West. They occupy about 52 per cent of the total protected areas in Kenya, and about 3.9 per cent of the land surface. Set aside in 1948 for the preservation of wildlife and wild vegetation and, the Parks have the largest single populations of elephant and rhino in Kenya and are home to 60 mammal species and over 400 bird species. Due to this size of 21,000 square kilometers, its remoteness and close location to the Somali border, Tsavo experiences enormous challenges in terms of poaching.
Securing the Tsavo National Park for wildlife is a yardstick of the overall success of KWS in meeting its wildlife conservation and management mandate.