Kenya conservation news update – Still more fences for yet more parks


No sooner had plans been disclosed by KWS to fence off Mt. Kenya National Park and the Marsabit National Park did calls emerge from district administrators along the crucial Tsavo West park boundaries that they too want an electric fence to be put up, to prevent elephant from leaving the park and raiding nearby farms. In recent weeks, as reported here on several occasions, did large numbers of elephant, on one raid alone over 800, leave the park in search of pasture and had to be driven back by KWS wardens and rangers, leaving a trail of destruction behind and wananchi clamouring for compensation over lost crop, injuries suffered and property destroyed.

Elephant in the area however follow their instincts and when food gets scarce in the park they migrate as in long gone times they would then undertake long treks, often across what is now a border between Kenya and Tanzania, deep into the hills there or as far as Mt. Kilimanjaro, to find water and food before eventually returning to close the circle of migration.

Today though these migration routes are often cut off for them, fenced or else cultivated by farmers growing cash crops and their own food and when their instinct for survival, their need to find pastures takes over they are in immediate conflict with humans, claiming and ready to defend their own.

Kenya Wildlife Service is aware, this correspondent has been reliably informed, of the growing potential of such conflict and has started looking into alternatives to keep wildlife inside the park even when drought strikes, pondering feeding and watering schemes which however are expensive and almost unsustainable in the long term, considering the numbers of game the organization has to deal with in an extensive park like Tsavo West. More fodder for thought on the future of wildlife conservation and how mankind continues to encroach wildlife habitat in the first place before then turning and blaming game for a conflict it did not cause in the first place.

Watch this space.