IFAW disburses emergency grant for Kenya's Tsavo Parks

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Nairobi, Kenya
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) has announced a US$ 117,000 grant to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) as emergency funds for the Tsavo Parks. The grant, which was made possible through IFAW donors and foundations, comes in the wake of political unrest and a consequent slump in tourism that has drastically reduced revenue earnings in the country’s top tourist destinations and handicapped Tsavo’s abilities for critical park operations such as law enforcement and human-wildlife conflict management.
“At the height of the unrest earlier in the year, we suffered a 90 per cent drop in tourism visitation, forcing us to undertake massive budget cuts to contain the situation and ensure that the Parks are well protected from poachers. This support from IFAW will uplift our efforts, and we are grateful that this has come at an hour of great need for both the wildlife guardians and the animals especially the elephants,” commented Jonathan Kirui, Assistant Director of Tsavo.
 
James Isiche, IFAW’s Regional Director in Eastern Africa, while confident that Kenya is on the mend, said, “A turnaround in the country’s tourism fortunes will take a while yet a minimum level of protection for the animals, especially elephants, must be maintained through security patrols by KWS rangers in the near term. By this support for Tsavo, we are encouraging the local and international community to get involved in safeguarding wildlife in these dire times.”
 
Tsavo, some 300 kilometres 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 combined size of 21,000 square kilometres, its remoteness and close location to the Somali border, Tsavo experiences enormous challenges in terms of poaching,  occasioning the need for constant and deterrent ranger patrols costing thousands of dollars in fuel, spares and ranger supplies. 

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