• Tsavo Ecosystem has the highest concentration of elephant population in Kenya estimated at 14, 964.
• Waweru said the agency is working with partners to facilitate water trucking to the conservation area.
More than 100 elephants and other wildlife have died within the Tsavo ecosystem since the onset of the drought, KWS has said.
Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Brig (Rtd) John Waweru said on Thursday the drought has claimed 20 other animals.
“The region is experiencing a very severe drought that has affected wildlife. In the Tsavo ecosystem alone, we have lost 120 wild animals of different types out of which more than 100 are elephants,” he said.
Waweru said they are working round the clock to mitigate the effects of climate change that are posing a major threat to conservation.
Speaking during an engagement meeting with Taita Taveta leaders at Tsavo East National Park, he said wildlife deaths have been on the increase in the park as water and pasture continue to decline.
The National Wildlife Census 2021 Report shows the Tsavo Ecosystem has the highest concentration of elephant population in Kenya estimated at 14,964.
Waweru said the agency is working with partners to facilitate water trucking to the conservation area and to communities bordering the expansive twin-national park.
He said they have finalised construction of water pans to tap rainwater and avert further deaths in the future.
To prevent herders from grazing livestock in the protected area, Waweru said KWS will engage the herders to come up with a way of assisting them get animal feed. He said herding inside the park remains illegal.
“We can agree to take animal feed to the community so they can benefit. Taking livestock to the park cannot be allowed because it will create a bigger problem at a later stage,” Waweru said.
He, however, said that KWS has downscaled its corporate social responsibility activities in the area following a Sh500 million budget cut by the National Treasury.
“Government is trying to establish a youth fund and the agency and ministry departments had to surrender some part of the money. That has affected our operation,” the director general said.
He said the budget cuts had also affected the completion of the electric fence that was meant to curtail the perennial human-wildlife conflict.
However, he said, talks are underway to bring more partners on board to ensure the fence is complete.
The region has been experiencing unending human-wildlife conflict, with herds of elephants straying on farms.
The current drought has pushed close to half of the jumbo population into human settlement areas as they search for pastures and water.
The frequent invasions have created a sour relationship between KWS and residents, with the conservation agency being blamed for failing to protect residents against wildlife invasions.
Waweru appealed to the county leadership to work with KWS to end human-wildlife conflict.
"We will work together to address human-wildlife conflicts. We call upon the county leadership to work together with KWS to cultivate a good partnership to help us resolve the challenges affecting the community," he said.
The meeting was attended by Governor Andrew Mwadime, county commissioner Loyford Kibaara and MPs Abdi Chome (Voi), Peter Shake (Mwatate) and John Bwire (Taveta).
Governor Mwadime said the county will pursue ways of benefiting from revenue collected from the park.
"Our revenue is very little. The park is part of our resources and therefore we must establish ways to benefit from it," he said.