Kenya mulls use of technology to boost wildlife conservation

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Kenya Wildlife Service
Kenya Wildlife Service

Kenya will leverage modern technology to boost conservation of wildlife amid threats like illegal trafficking, habitat loss, diseases and climatic stresses, officials have said.

Najib Balala, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said that greater use of technology will boost monitoring and response to threats facing iconic species.

“We need to be more sophisticated in monitoring wildlife and manning national parks through use of technology. The use of drones has boosted our anti-poaching efforts,” Balala said on Friday during the launch of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Strategic Plan 2019-2024 in the coastal county of Kilifi.

He said enhanced collaboration with the private sector and donors will be a key feature of wildlife conservation in the country in the near future to help plug funding shortfalls linked to COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Balala, the government will harness capital from industry to acquire state of the art technology like drones and boost protection of iconic species including giant land mammals, carnivores, birds and reptiles.

He said that enhanced surveillance of wildlife sanctuaries using drones has led to significant reduction in poaching adding that mobile based applications have also been effective in minimizing human-wildlife conflicts.

Fred Segor, principal secretary in the State Department of Wildlife said among key features of a five year strategy for conservation of iconic species include maximizing technology use, community engagement and financial sustainability.

Segor said collaring threatened species has proved effective in shielding them from poachers adding that equipping rangers with goggles and motorcycles has also enhanced response to illegal trafficking of wildlife products.

John Waweru, director general of KWS said that harnessing technology and innovations is key to strengthening action on emerging threats facing iconic species including spread of disease-causing pathogens and retaliatory attack by nomads and human encroachment. Enditem

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