NAIROBI – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has said although the wildlife population in the country was increasing, it could become unsustainable in the future.
Director Julius Kipng’etich said on Tuesday that the future challenges of water strain, growing population, energy and unemployment would heavily impact on wildlife conservation.
“So with all these things confronting us, wildlife conservation will also be under severe stress. We will have challenges of bush meat for example; if people have food challenges, they will turn to wildlife for food. If people don’t have firewood they will destroy habitats where wildlife is and also there will be water competition (human-wildlife) because of the scarce resources,” he said.
Dr Kipng’etich said there was need to check human population growth rates in the country to counter some of these challenges.
“When you look at Rift Valley which has most of the wildlife habitat, the human population is growing at a rate of 3.6 percent. Much of our wildlife exists in Rift Valley – the Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru – and that is where the highest population growth is,” the KWS boss said.
He said the key animal species were all growing. Elephants have risen to 35,000 and growing at a rate of four percent while rhinos have grown to 840 up from 234 and growing at a rate of seven percent.
He said KWS would by the end of this year build a modern science laboratory to support conservation.
The Head of Resource Mobilisation Edwin Wanyonyi says plans were underway in July establish an endowment fund to reduce government and donor dependency in wildlife conservation.
“Our aim is to raise Sh7.5million over the next 10 years. We are learning the art of saving because the only best way we seem to support our conservation is to ensure that we don’t consume everything today, we are actually able to save to support our activities tomorrow. At this moment we have been able to raise Sh23million,”he said.