CHEETAH ORPHANS SEE KWS AND MARA CONSERVANCY LOCK HORNS
KWS have such an ability to stir controversy and dish out slaps into the faces of their conservation partners at times said a Nairobi based conservation source before adding they might be well advised to undertake a crash course in public relations and how to build alliances instead of imposing themselves as the one and only, when discussing the case of three orphaned cheetah cubs, found on the conservancy and for some time cared for until KWS swooped in and removed them to their orphanage at the Langata headquarters.
For much of March and April the cubs were fed and protected at the Mara Conservancy offices, where they were to be reared to adulthood before being introduced to their natural habitat again, according to one Miss Foxcroft, whose passion for her cause has since spread into the social networks in Kenya as she is gathering support to have the cheetahs returned. KWS chief Dr. Julius Kipngetich in his usual swagger he had some weeks ago caused the arrest of the Eco-Tourism Kenya CEO when the two clashed over poaching statistics in turn pronounced all wildlife property of the state and, while technically correct in that, insisted that the cubs be taken to the Nairobi Safari Walk for educational purposes, a move promptly attracting such comments to this correspondent as using them as exhibits for tourists, not entirely fair as KWS will be underwriting the substantial cost of feeding and veterinary care, but also with some substance of course as the presence of the three cubs will be an added attraction. A source close to the conservancy and those wishing to see the cheetahs returned it was learned on condition of strict anonymity you think I want to be arrested too? said that a detailed proposal had been sent a week ago to KWS, outlining an action plan how to rear the cheetah cubs and then progressively re-introduce them into the wild, but in an unusually swift response they appear to have been told by KWS that the proposal could only be used for future cases and the three cubs would remain in Langata. This immediately raised the question why, if the proposal was good enough to be implemented in the future, it could not be used for the present case, with some accusing KWS of inconsistent behaviour.
A source close to KWS in turn responded, also on condition of anonymity for not being an authorized spokesperson: The cheetah population in the Mara has been going down for a long time now. Only a few cubs survive to adulthood in fact. The range of the Mara cheetahs has also been curtailed by farming activities coming close to the reserve, although some buffers are now there through several conservancies. We have enough case studies of releasing lions back to the wild, on leopards and other animals there is some experience and data but for cheetahs it is almost virgin territory. This may need more study to make sure it actually can be done without losing the animals to other predators, a sensible explanation which made the other side wonder, when told, why the KWS chief was not able to speak such language and in the words of one source rather continues to brusquely upset and confront instead of unite private conservation efforts with those in KWS.
As the saying goes here, watch this space, but in fairness also appreciate the many good things KWS does and not make the organization the punchball for the lack of finesse, eloquence and enlightenment of just one person.