Paul Udoto brings us the latest wildlife news.


Samburu women at the project launch

New community conservancies
As part of the recently launched five-year Ksh1.5 billion Northern Kenya Biodiversity Conservation Project, KWS plans to train 36 community wildlife rangers at the paramilitary Law Enforcement Academy, Manyani, for the three community conservancies of Jaldesa, Shurr and Songa, all located around Mt Marsabit. The project, which aims to sustainably conserve natural resources in Northern Kenya, is financed by a loan from the French Development Agency (AFD), the Kenyan government and other partners. Prof Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, said: “The new Wildlife Act has a strong component of community participation in wildlife management.”

Record-breaking rhino charge
The 26th edition of the annual off-road motorsport competition Rhino Charge held in Kalama Conservancy in Samburu County and sponsored by KQ Cargo has raised Ksh102 million for conservation work in the Aberdares, Mt Kenya and Mau Eburu forested mountain ecosystems, the main sources of water in Kenya. The funds raised by the event have seen the erection of a historic 400km electric fence around the Aberdares. Simon Gitau, KWS Senior Warden of Mt Kenya National Park, won the Rhino Charge’s Ken Kuhle Trophy for his dedication to the conservation of the mountain and the development of the communities living around it.

Vultures: nature’s own clean-up crew
Vultures provide a valuable environmental service as the planet’s garbage cleaners. They don’t usually kill their own food but rely on disease, predators, and careless drivers for carcasses. By eating such carcasses, they prevent the possible spread of disease to other animals and people. Research is underway in Kenya to establish the reasons behind the sharp drop in the number of (endangered) vultures.

Lower fees
Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent directive, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has reduced entry fees to the premium national parks of Amboseli and Lake Nakuru. Adult non-residents will pay US$80 and children non-residents US$40, down from US$90 and US$55, respectively.