State to conduct national wildlife census to establish status of resources – KWS (Kenya)


Cyrus Ombati, The Star

Date Published

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Kenya through the Kenya Wildlife Service is for the first time undertaking a one-off national wildlife census to establish the status of her wildlife resources.

The exercise will count terrestrial, fresh water, marine mammals, key birds (ostrich and kori bastards), endangered primates (Tana Mangabey and Tana red colobus) and reptiles (crocodiles) in the 47 Counties in Kenya.

In 2020, Kenya marked a milestone in conservation by recording zero rhino deaths, as result of a collaborative a multi sectoral security approach in dealing with poaching.

KWS said the census will enhance conservation efforts by determining the exact numbers of all wildlife including the endangered species and their exact location.

In every three to five years the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is required to provide information as outlined in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WCMA), 2013 as well as the status of wildlife resources monitoring report respectively.

These reports are supposed to be presented to Parliament by the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Wildlife Conservation and Management as stipulated in sections 49(4) and 64(3) of the WCMA, 2013.

Tourism CS Najib Balala was Friday scheduled to launch the exercise in Taita Taveta. KWS officials said the objective of the exercise is to ascertain Kenya’s wildlife population and distribution, determine the exact locations of wildlife to minimize human wildlife conflict and identify threats to wildlife conservation and management.

It will also establish an updated data base which will form a basis for establishing real economic value of wildlife capital for reflections in the national budgeting process and enhance conservation efforts.

Methodology officials said the government will use different scientific methods to collate the data largely dependent on the species and the habitat types.

Aerial survey technique will be used to count large mammals in savannah/arid and semi arid conservations areas while camera traps and dung count methods will be used in forested ecosystems.

For the wetland ecosystems, both aerial and ground count methods will be applied. The proposal also intends to invest on capital equipments which include procurements of satellite collars and micro-chips, GPS, Camera traps among others.

Kenya’s rich wildlife resource is one of the key economic pillars of the country.

However, the country is not receiving optimized benefits as anticipated due to inadequate knowledge on the status of the country’s wildlife populations as there is no comprehensive population data for many species of wildlife inform management.