Wildlife experts on Wednesday called for the expansion of conservancies in Kenya in order to enlarge wildlife habitats.
Dickson Ole Kaelo, CEO of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA), told a wildlife forum in Nairobi that the country’s national parks are currently congested with wildlife animals, forcing some of them out of protected areas.
“The idea is to expand conservancies to include all areas where we have wildlife as conservancies are ideal habitats for wildlife. They tend to have less predators than the parks,” Kaelo said during a conference on the Building Capacity in the management of the wildlife-livestock interface.
The day-long event brought experts to discuss ways to improve Kenya’s wildlife management. Government data indicates about 30 percent of wildlife resides in national parks. The rest live in conservancies, private and community land.
KWCA said that there are currently 155 wildlife conservancies in Kenya which sit on 4.2 million hectares of land.
Kaelo said that conservancies create space and institutions. He noted that conservancies also help to complement national parks because they create the same conditions which exist in national parks.
“In fact during the breeding time, some wildlife species prefer to move out from the national parks and go to the conservancies,” he said.
Kaelo added that the density of lions is higher in conservancies surrounding the Masai Mara wildlife park compared to the park itself.
Kenya national parks were created to protect wildlife such as rhinos, hippos and elephants that are sensitive to humans.
“These animals need environments with tall grass and where they don’t freely interact with humans,” Kaelo said.
According to KWCA, livestock could also be used to manage wildlife in national parks.
He added that livestock and wildlife eat different species of vegetation and hence promote balance in the national parks ecosystem. Enditem