Kenya running out of space for wildlife - CS Wakhungu

Lions at Tsavo National Park on August 1, 2015. /FILE
Lions at Tsavo National Park on August 1, 2015. /FILE

The government has raised concerns over the worrying shrinking space to accommodate the country's growing wildlife population in a natural ecosystem.

Environment CS Judi Wakhungu said the situation follows an increase in human settlements which are eating into wildlife habitat.

"The elephant population is increasing but the habitat is decreasing because of human settlements and so on."

Wakhungu, after a recent census, suggested that measures to ensure the prospects of an increase in elephant population gets better need to be in place.

The aerial survey of elephants, buffaloes and giraffes in the ecosystem was carried out between November 19 and December 2.

It showed that the population of wildlife in country's major ecosystem has significantly increased.


Kenya's annual population growth

was last measured at 2.61 percent in 2015.

Wakhungu said the increase in elephant population by 2.6 per cent every year is as a result of work

being done by KWS and all the other partners.

Within Laikipia-Samburu-Meru-Marsabit ecosystems, there has been a 12 per cent increase of elephants between 2012 and 2017.

This represents about a 2.4 per cent annual increase.

During the census, a total of 7,347 elephants were counted compared 6,454 in 2012.

In the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem, 7,166 elephants were counted, while 181 were counted in the Marsabit ecosystem.

This is compared to 6,365 elephants that were counted in the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem in 2012 and 89 in the Marsabit ecosystem.

Elephants in the Marsabit ecosystem have also increased by 51 per cent.

There was an increase of 11 per cent in the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem,translating to an annual increase of 2.2 per cent between 2012 and 2017.

A total of 76 elephants carcasses were recorded during the survey.

Seventy five percent of carcasses were very old carcasses while 25 per cent were old.

No fresh carcasses were found.

Some 4,499 buffaloes were counted in Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem, which is about 10 per cent increase.

There were 4,069 buffaloes in Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem in 2012.

The Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem had a large number of giraffes as 4,223 were counted compared to 2,839 counted in 2012.

Further, the 2017 aerial survey within the Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem recorded 1,621 Grevy’s Zebra compared to 1,897 and 2,400 Grevy’s Zebra counted during 2012 and 2008 census.

The annual rate of Grevy’s Zebra decline had slowed down from about 5 percent between 2008 and 2012 to 3 percent between 2012 and 2017.

In Meru conservation area,674 elephants were counted compared to 659 in 2015, representing an

increase of 2 percent in two years.

A total of 19 elephants carcasses were recorded with 14 being old while five were very old.

This is in comparison of 34 carcasses recorded in 2014

Further,2,711 buffaloes were counted in Meru in 2017 compared to 1,663 counted November 2014.

This represents 39 percent increase in three years.

Some 888 giraffes were recorded during the survey compared to 894 in 2014 and six Grevy’s Zebras compared to nine in 2014.

In Mwea National Reserve, 125 elephants were counted during October 2017 survey compared to 82 in 2012.

This gives an elephants density of three elephants per square kilometer compared to density of two reported in 2012.

Three old carcasses were recorded.

In July 26 last year, Wakhungu unveiled a


detailing Wildlife Migratory Corridors and Dispersal Areas in Kenya.

The report shows that most of them had been encroached, a move that

has increased human wildlife conflict.

The report spells out among other measures the mapping and securing of wildlife corridors as a strategy for reducing human wildlife conflict and promoting environmental sustainability.

It identifies more than 100 migratory corridors: the southern rangelands, the northern rangelands, and coastal areas.

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