Paula Kahumbu – the story continues


(Posted 05th March 2020)

The sad story told two weeks ago here, when Dr. Paula Kahumbu was subjected to the village chief treatment by the Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Service, attracted many comments, all of disgust how a Kenyan government body official could behalf in such a disgraceful manner against a globally renowned and award winning Kenyan conservationist, and subseqent narratives too received a lot of attention.

The abuses have however not stopped and Dr. Paula, in a lengthy Facebook post, narrates again how things were unfolding since then.

I was recently accused, in court, by lawyers for a national authority, of waking up and inventing information about the endangerment of Kenyas wildlife for no other reason than to make trouble. I wish it were true. Yesterday I met a big man who said I was getting in the way of business and that I was blind, because wildlife in Kenya is doing fine. I also wish that were true.

Yesterday the nation was focussed on the Roan Antelope recovery plan – with only 12 left in the country, it’s hardly a reason to celebrate. How did we get there without noticing? Most Kenyans have never seen or heard about the Roan Antelope. Though only 12 can be found in Kenya, there are plenty elsewhere and the IUCN officially lists them as Least Concern. Yet we care.

Which brings me to the question of Ruppells Vulture – IUCN lists them as critically endangered GLOBALLY- yet lawyers for the state argued that they did not deserve attention since they were “just a few birds”. There was no proper independent risk assessment not post event assessment after Koroga Festival – at least no reports have been shared. No data is being used as proof – this is not science. It’s so transparent.

I was happy to hear a high court judge argue for applying the precautionary principle when it cane to banning direct flights from China to Kenya to protect us from COVID19. The judge in our case against Koroga Festival sniffed at the idea – those for the festival argued that the event should take place to see and prove if it affected wildlife. This after decades of disturbance has already caused 5 vulture species to abandon breeding sites at Hell’s Gate National Park. Now the only 25 nesting pairs remaining, were to be subjected to a loud experiment with the blessing of our authorities.

Who is advising our state officials I wonder? Business people may not give a toss about Kenyas international standing on conservation. The Government should care. Our credibility and reputation is at stake. Our voice on other conservation matters has been turned down a dial. This couldn’t be worse timing – 2020 is a super year for wildlife. We should be fanatic about awareness AND practicing what we preach. We gave up our moral authority for what? A private party?

To be honest, I found it hard to find reason to celebrate World Wildlife Day yesterday – it feels like we have rolled back on much progress made in the last few years, and we are justifying more and more developments that we also know are the cause of the problems.

So, I don’t wake up and imagine things. I read. I listen, I investigate, I go and see things for myself.

The national report on the status of Kenya’s wildlife can be found here…/status-wildlife-report-2015-2017

Today there is a public hearing on yet more amendments to the Wildlife Act. WildlifeDirect will attend because we care and we act to save our wildlife. Please read and share the status of our wildlife report below. Let us all take responsibility for knowing the facts, and using them to defend the integrity of our parks, reserves, forests, habitats and species .

Please share share share – let us not sit on the sidelines and lament when our wildlife disappears before our own eyes.

Our solidarity with Dr. Paula continues and will remain in place, while at the same time continuing to demand either the resignation or the sacking of said Village Chief, aka Director General of KWS.

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