Paul Udoto brings us the latest wildlife news

Wildlife conservancies honoured
Ol Pejeta and Lewa wildlife conservancies in Northern Kenya have been ‘green listed’ among 23 sites globally for excellence in managing valuable natural areas. The award places Kenya among eight countries whose wildlife protected areas have been included in the first Green List honours by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN. Kenya is the first African country with a few of its wildlife areas green listed.

WildlifeKWSKQRhino boost!
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has received a donation of Ksh350,000 and equipment worth Ksh1.6 million towards anti-poaching and species monitoring, especially of rhinos, in Nairobi and Lake Nakuru National Parks. The donation from an ongoing Kenya Airways and Born Free Foundation partnership is a major boost to Kenya’s national black rhino conservation and management strategy whose overall goal is to increase the population by 5 per cent per year to reach 750 rhinos by the end of 2016.

Scholarships from genetic resources
250 students living around Lake Bogoria in Baringo County have received Ksh2.3 million in scholarships as royalties paid by a Danish industrial biotechnology company, Novozymes. The royalty payment comes after successful negotiation between the KWS and Novozymes. Kenya laws are yet to provide for the Nagoya Protocol, which was entered into force last October. The international treaty establishes rules for accessing, trading, sharing and monitoring the use of the world’s genetic resources for pharmaceutical, agricultural, cosmetic and other purposes.

Nature notes – Zebras in peril
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) recently held the 6th annual Grevy’s zebra conference to review measures taken over the last 10 years to stem the decreasing population of this endangered species, whose population has dwindled from 15,000 in the 1970s to the current 2800 animals. Historically, Grevy’s zebra were found in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia, with a reported sighting in Sudan. Currently, the species is found only in Kenya and Ethiopia, with Kenya holding 90 per cent of the total population. The main threats responsible for the decline of the species population are loss of range, hunting, competition with domestic livestock, loss of access to critical resources, disease and predation, use of its products for medicinal purposes, and drought (particularly in northern Kenya).

“Many good things are being done to fight the illegal wildlife trade, but the sun still shines on the traffickers. Virtually no one anywhere is being indicted, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced. In the 1980s Africa went from having 1.3 million elephants to just 600,000. Will the population have to be halved again for us to have the political will to prosecute these crimes? Elephants need safe havens, not poachers and wildlife traffickers.”
Patrick Bergin CEO, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), at a regional wildlife summit in Arusha, Tanzania