GAME RESERVE DEMARCATION PROMPTS LOCAL PROTESTS / LAND CLAIMS
When surveyors tasked by the Kenya Wildlife Service began demarcating the boundaries of the Lake Kamnarok game reserve in Baringo county, they spurred a series of meetings amongst area residents. Demands were formulated by as many as 1.000 families laying down claims to land KWS considers as part of the game reserve while the residents claim it for their own.
Demanding compensation, in case they have to move, the residents also demanded suitable other land to be allocated to them, should KWS go ahead with the reclamation of the lake, which in recent years had become silted up as more and more soil is being swept down the surrounding hills into the lake as a result of deforestation. This has caused the silting and drying up of parts of the lake, now only really visible after extensive rains, before the evaporating water once more exposes the mud below.
The arguments, according to a source in Nairobi, have been going on for decades but became more acute and urgent due to the sharp rise in populations living in the immediate area of the lake, and the lack of solutions has also prevented any work to be carried out to remove silt or else keep it from entering the lake area.
The challenges of conservation in the face of population pressures, not an enviable task for KWS to resolve to everyone’s satisfaction.