Kenya attempts to reconcile wildlife and people

Kenya
Two recent articles in the Nairobi Star highlight the Kenyan government’s efforts to preserve wildlife while keeping the human population happy.

Kenya has always been a top safari destination and tourism is a major source of hard currency. Unfortunately, tensions between people and wildlife are heightening in Kenya and all over Africa due to deforestation and population pressures. Earlier this month, elephants broke out of Tsavo West National Park, destroying crops and scaring villagers.

The Star reports that 490 new rangers in the Kenya Wildlife Service will be stationed around the country, assisted by community scouts who will act as liaisons between the service and locals. The Kenya Wildlife Service has erected 1,300 km (807 miles) of electric fences to keep wildlife out of farmers’ fields.

Meanwhile, the government said it’s cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade, although the source for the article, Ministry of Wildlife official Mohamed wa-Mwacha, was a wee bit vague as to just how that’s being done. He recently ran a workshop on improving monitoring of the trade. He and his colleagues face a big task. There’s a huge demand for rare animals and animals parts, as you can see by the regular posts here on Gadling about poaching and smuggling, and an organized international network of smugglers.

Hopefully the bad guys will get locked up, the good guys can plant their crops in peace, and the Kenya’s precious (and profitable) wildlife will be allowed to thrive.

[Photo of kid riding tortoise at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy courtesy Chuckupd via Wikimedia Commons]