ROAN ANTELOPES

Lessons from the decline of roan antelope

In Summary

• This year’s World Wildlife Day National Celebrations was celebrated at the Ruma National Park. This is a terrestrial park located in Homabay County.

• The choice of host venue was very significant, being the “home retreat” of the Roan antelope. This was but just the most befitting venue.

The Roan antelope in the Ruma National Park in Homa Bay County
The Roan antelope in the Ruma National Park in Homa Bay County
Image: KWS

The 3rd of March is globally celebrated as World Wildlife Day. This day bestows an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and most importantly to raise awareness of the immense benefits of their conservation.

National Celebrations

This year’s World Wildlife Day National Celebrations was celebrated at the Ruma National Park. This is a terrestrial park located in Homabay County.

 The choice of host venue was very significant, being the “home retreat” of the Roan antelope. This was but just the most befitting venue.

3rd March, 2020 Theme Significance

 In praiseworthy,the host venue was just in sync with the well-thought theme, ‘’Sustaining all life in Earth.”This encompasses all wild animals and plant species as a component of biodiversity, as well as the livelihoods of the people.

It is unfortunate how a great number of people seem to disregard the value of conservation with the mistaken belief that the human species is heralded as supreme and can do without other species.

It is of essence to always be in the knowhow that plants and animals have a symbiotic relationship, both species interchangeably depending on each other for sustainability. As it is inarguably known, human beings remain the biggest threat to other species.

Magnificence of the Roan Antelope

 The Roan is one of the rarest antelopes thus no surprise that it is an endangered species.It is the third-largest species of antelopes, only exceeded in size by the elands and bongos and in weight by the large male kudus.

It is also a sight to behold not only for its immense size but also distinctive red hue and appealing black and white face, so enrapturing it has the semblance of a piece of art.

Lessons on Conservation from the Roan Antelope

Once upon a time, the roan antelope in great numbers roamed wide and free in Kenya. Catching a glimpse of the antelope at the parks was not a rare occurrence.

Currently, it is estimated that there are only a few tens of the roan at RumaNational Park, the only park in Kenya were the roan can roam free. The major instigation of the decline of the species include; poaching, encroachment and loss of their habitat stemming from human activities. Retrogressive cultural practices also contribute to the declining numbers. This include; hunting of the roan for their hides for burial ceremonies and the horns for making of musical instruments.

In commemorating the event, a Recovery and Action Plan for the Roan Antelope (2020-2030) was officially launched. The case of the dwindling population is something that has been steady through the years and did not just come to be. Momentously, one of the prescribed interventions to the declining population in Kenya is the import of the species from other countries.

Had curative and preventative steps been taken earlier, perhaps, we would not be where we are today. Conservation is a way of life and should be a preventative more than a curative resort.

As human beings, we have the presumed mandate of being stewards and caregivers to other species. A failure to recognize the same thus results to the degradation and ultimately even extinction of both plants and other animals.

It would be interpreted that we echo the treatment of other animals to ourselves, for as Mahatma Gandhi stated, “What we do to other species is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

 “The author is an Advocate of the High Court, Principal Partner at Juliet Nyangai& Company Advocates and a nature lover. She is passionate about Conservation and Animal Welfare.

Ms J.O Nyangái can be reached on: Twitter: @nyangaij   Email: [email protected]