Wednesday July 26, 2017.
An ambitious new report identifying some of Kenya’s most important wildlife migratory corridors has been hailed by leading elephant research organisation Save The Elephants as an important step towards closing the gap between conservation and urban devel-opment. Save The Elephants, a key contributor alongside other wildlife partners to the national wildlife mi-gratory corridors and dispersal areas report, says the report’s recommendations will help protect Kenya’s future by setting a framework for the country to undertake landscape planning while con-serving natural ecosystems. This in turn will ensure the country’s valuable natural heritage survives as the country’s population and infrastructure continues to grow. Wildlife migratory corridors will be crucial in connecting core habitats for Kenya’s wildlife and en-suring the long-term survival of many species. Over the years poaching, rangeland degradation, human-wildlife conflict and climate change have all begun to threaten the nation’s wildlife popula-tions, and urgent action is needed to stem the decline. The wildlife migratory corridors report, launched today (subs: Wednesday July 26) in Nairobi Na-tional Park by Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, recognises the threats currently facing Kenya’s wildlife and as such outlines the importance of connectivity, identi-fies key wildlife corridors and dispersal areas and suggests priority conservation actions to protect the country’s fragile natural heritage. Save The Elephants’ Head of Monitoring and one of the co-authors of the report, Dr Ben Okita, says: “As our landscape becomes increasingly more human-dominated, securing wildlife migratory routes and corridors is critical to sustaining ecological integrity as well as developing a tolerant relationship between man and wildlife. Kenya is renowned for its wildlife, which are a key economic asset, yet wildlife populations including those of elephants have declined dramatically over the last few decades. This report recognises the importance of reducing and reversing this trend by restoring connectivity to our environment, not just for the wildlife but for the people of Kenya too.” Save The Elephants has played a significant role over the past six years towards the production of the report which is one of Kenya’s Vision 2030 flagship projects. Renowned for its pioneering sci-entific insights into elephant behaviour, intelligence, and long-distance movements and motivated by its mission to secure a future for elephants, Save The Elephants identified and mapped essential corridors and dispersal areas in northern Kenya, Tsavo and in the Mara for the report. The or-ganisation generated this crucial scientific information through satellite radio tracking of 99 ele-phants, mapping the expanding footprint of human development and undertaking census work. The same tracking data, gathered from 10 elephants in Tsavo fitted with satellite radio transmitters, was also used by Save The Elephants earlier this year, in partnership with KWS, to advise the Chinese contractors of Kenya’s new standard gauge railway on how to implement future wildlife passages along railways and roads through a better understanding of the effectiveness of the cur-rent passages along the standard gauge railway. Frank Pope, Save The Elephants’ CEO, says:. “All our contributions to urban development have been motivated by our core mission of ‘securing a future for elephants’. By doing this groundwork we, along with other key wildlife partners, are helping to put Kenya at the forefront of developing solutions to Africa’s conservation challenges.” Save The Elephants’ founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton says: “This new wildlife corridors and dispersal areas report clearly identifies many of the important wildlife corridors in Kenya, and is a significant step forward in closing the gap between conservation and development in the country. We are proud to have worked alongside key wildlife partners to start forging a pathway towards a modern Kenya whose rich biodiversity remains intact.” The Principal Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Dr Margaret Mwakima says “I am glad to see conservation organizations across the country join hands with the Govern-ment to define wildlife corridors and dispersal areas with the aim of securing them in partnership with communities living in wildlife areas.. This is an important milestone and legacy for the conservation fraternity as it sits in the core of national interest” Key recommendations from the wildlife corridors and dispersal areas report, include: • Develop, expand and implement the proposed Conservation Connectivity Framework • Identify, prioritize, and secure wildlife dispersal areas and migratory corridors • Promote integrated land-use planning and cross-sectoral implementation • Review policies and legislation for a harmonized policy framework • Promote community participation in biodiversity conservation • Implement management of conservation connectivity • Enhance knowledge through effective research and monitoring • Secure resources for conservation connectivity management • Ensure effective monitoring and learning ENDS/ For more information, please contact: Jane Wynyard Head of Communications Save The Elephants +254 0708 669 635 [email protected]