The race to account for the movement and safety of the endangered black rhinos in Kenya whose national population currently stands at approximately 680 in Kenya’s wild is on. The latest stride being the revamping of the implantation of microchips onto the rhinos, a process that began in 2013 in the iconic Maasai Mara Game Reserve. (Kenya implanting microchips in every rhino to fight poaching.)
“WWF very much appreciates collaborative efforts with the Kenyan government and Narok County in promoting technology to combat poaching. The efforts of rhino rangers at the frontline are highly commendable and reported zero poaching incidents in some locations where this technology has been deployed is most inspiring.”
Tanya Steele, newly appointed WWF-UK CEO in January 2017 during her maiden visit to Kenya as she presided over the handing over of rhino tracking equipment to the Mara rhino team.
Mr. Tony Tuyah, Chairman Leshuta WRUA, rallying the Maasai community to embrace conservation of the environment.
Lush kales farm in one of Leshuta WRUA member.
The Maasai community has for a long time co-existed harmoniously with wildlife, a relationship that is increasingly strained due to increasing population and infrastructural development that exerts pressure on wildlife habitat and water resources occasioning human wildlife conflict.
Through this initiative, the community has managed to construct an eight kilometer water pipeline from a rehabilitated spring. The pipeline supplies more than 3000 people and their livestock with clean water.
Environmental resources are important to Kenya’s socio-economic development. They support livelihood creation, ensure food security and support a safe and clean environment.
Environmental ecosystems in Lamu County are under enormous threats mainly from increasing anthropogenic activities and proposed large scale development projects. While the populations are extracting and using resources at an accelerated and unsustainable rate from a resource base that is vulnerable and finite, others have encroached on protected areas for speculation ready to cash in on anticipated demand for these properties.
These pressures on natural resources have been manifested in vegetation removal; land and water resources degradation and pollution; logging, overfishing and degradation of fish habitats; competition for use of aquatic space; and changes in atmospheric processes, such as climate change and its consequences.
To secure sustainable management of these resources, there is need for stakeholders to act in ways that maximize synergy and maintain a safe and productive environment. The benefits arising from the use of natural resources should be shared equitably and made available for future generations.
The Kenyan Government’s commitment to sound environmental management is spelt out in the Constitution of Kenya (2010) which legislates the citizen’s right to a clean and healthy environment and provides for protection of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
In addition, the national policy blueprint, Kenya Vision 2030, highlights the importance of sustainable utilization of natural resources in its social pillar. Vision 2013 seeks to build a just and cohesive society with social equity in a clean and secure environment. The Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) 1999 and its subsequent revision is a law that guides environmental impact assessment and audit.
WWF-Kenya in its support to sustainable management of natural resources undertook an Environment sensitivity atlas for the county of Lamu, mainly to map out sensitive areas that are vulnerable to negative impacts of human activities, infrastructural development and unsustainable use of resources. The ATLAS is expected to be used by different stakeholders to inform decision making.
Additionally, the sensitivity atlas has also been prepared to provide spatial planners with tools to identify resources at risk, establish protection priorities and identify appropriate response strategies. The infrastructure development process accompanying the LAPSSET and the discovery of oil and gas within the county poses great environmental challenges that will affect both terrestrial and marine resources.
This ATLAS can help identify sensitive areas that may be heavily be impacted by such development. It was recently used to inform and support the identification of Natural Capital Assets in Lamu and in Mapping out the Critical Biodiversity Areas that have formed part of the “asks” which has been considered in the draft Lamu County Spatial Plan.
The launch of the Lamu Environment sensitivity atlas was held on 9th August 2016 by the Lamu County Executive with H.E the Governor Issa Timamy in attendance. The governor commended WWF-Kenya and promised to support them in their work across different programs including marine, terrestrial, spatial planning and education for sustainable development.
Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Defence), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure), Charles Keter (Energy and Petroleum), Willy Bett (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries) and Dan Kazungu (Mining)
On Wednesday the 1st of March 2017, WWF-Kenya celebrated a major milestone in influencing Kenya’s development towards a path of sustainability. WWF’s Spatial Planning Unit (in both the Kenya and WWF-UK Office) worked with the Kenyan government and other partners in the development of the country’s first ever National Spatial Plan (NSP).
The National Spatial Plan (NSP) is Kenya’s first spatial vision that defines the general trend and direction of spatial development for the country. It is a Kenya Vision 2030 flagship project aimed at distributing the population and activities on he national space to sustainable socio-economic development. The Plan envisages to transform the country into a globally competitive and prosperous nation, offering a high quality of life for all citizens in a clean and secure environment for the next thirty (30) years as envisioned in the Vision 2030.
As part of its key mandate in influencing natural resources utilization and management in the country, WWF-Kenya supported Lamu County in the development –of The Lamu County Forest Conservation and Management Draft Bill-2017. The bill is the product of consultations and meetings with key stakeholders led by the county government, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Museums of Kenya, National Environment Management Authority, Office of the President, Conservancies, Civil Society Organizations and communities living within and adjacent to the forests.
Lamu is stepping into a new era of large-scale development and infrastructure investment, particularly through the multi-million dollar Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) project. Whilst these developments could generate substantial economic and social benefits, they also pose significant environmental risks. In particular, if poorly executed, they could lead to significant and, in some cases, irreversible damage to the county’s most important natural assets, including forests, grasslands, mangroves, water sources, beaches, sea grass beds, coral reefs and fishing areas.
WWF-Kenya has sought to offer its contribution towards the ongoing Lamu County Spatial Plan making process, highlighting the need to substantively determine the coastal county’s natural capital, its status especially for those resources that are on a decline and the resources’ contribution to to the county’s economy, businesses and people. A top priority is to ensure that future development is planned so that it does not lead to further loss of natural capital and, ideally should lead to a net gain.
David Leto(WWF-K staff) selecting the best Boran cattle at Suyian ranch in Laikipia County.
Herd of Boran cattle at Suyian ranch, these will be used to improved breed at Oloisukut conservancy
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) herd at the Oloisukut Conservancy
Reduced range across the Mara landscape is a major challenge confronting conservation of the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) an iconic global species. This challenge has been occasioned in part by an upsurge in human population and unprecedented land fragmentation within the landscape resulting in an increase in Human Elephant Conflict (HEC).
In Oloisukut Conservancy, WWF-Kenya is pioneering a livelihood improvement programme for its members through a grant scheme to purchase better breeds (Boran and Sahiwal) to replace low yield Zebu and eventually destock the conservancy. A four-year-old Zebu calf currently goes for Ksh12, 000 in the market whereas a two year old Boran calf goes for at least Ksh 100,000. This could make a lot of difference in the incomes of the local community. Jackson Ole Mpario, the Executive Director of Oloisukut Conservancy observes that while pastoralist communities in the Mara traditionally viewed big cattle herds as a sign of wealth, times have changed and this notion is now no longer tenable given increasing land fragmentation under emerging tenure systems.