Nature news

Paul Udoto brings us the latest from KWS

SeaTurtlesSea turtles
Sea turtles are reptiles that inhabit tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world. Females will return to the same nesting grounds on which they were born. When the females come to the shore, they dig out a nest in the ground with their back slipper, bury their clutch of eggs and return to the ocean. Baby turtles emerge from the eggs and scramble towards water and never get to interact with their parents. Turtle populations are in steep decline in many areas as nesting beaches are converted to holiday resorts, their meat and eggs are over-harvested for food and many are acci-dentally caught and killed in fishing nets. Five species of sea turtles are found in Kenya; two are critically endangered while three are endangered.

Lions: serious decline
“Lions used to roam all over Africa, west Asia and southern Europe. Now we risk seeing them disappear from much of their remaining sub-Saharan African range. We cannot sit by and watch this species disappear under our watch. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature reassessment confirms what we have known for some time: that lions are in serious decline across much of Africa.”
Adam M. Roberts of Born Free USA calling for global action to halt the catastrophic declines in lion populations after a report shows lions have disappeared from 12 and possibly 16 African countries.

Hollywood trumpets for elephants
Mexican-Kenyan Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o has joined conservation NGO WildAid’s campaign as global elephant ambassador…
The Academy-Award winner returned to Kenya, her ancestral country, to visit Amboseli National Park and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi National Park to film a series of anti-poaching videos.
“I ask the world to end the current elephant poaching crisis by being ‘Ivory Free’. It is time to ban sales of ivory worldwide and to consign the tragedy of the ivory trade to history,” said Nyong’o in a statement.
WildAid frequently works with celebrities to voice the urgent need to stop the trade in threatened species. She joins UK’s Prince William, football star David Beckham and retired Chinese NBA basketballer Yao Ming in the call to end all ivory sales with the message: “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”
You can read more about Lupita Nyongo’s visit in msafiri’s September issue at www.msafirimag.com 

Tackling human-wildlife conflict
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) parks and reserves cover eight per cent of the country’s total landmass, which is approximately 48,000 sq km and has a total workforce strength of 2700 rangers for both protected and non-protected areas. KWS has trained 665 community wildlife scouts and 28 conservancy managers at the Law Enforcement Academy, Manyani, to address poaching and human wildlife conflict. KWS maintains 1154km of electric fences and plans to install an additional 220km in the next five years to tackle human-wildlife conflict.