Kenya Wildlife Service

While in Kenya on their second lengthy business trip and tour in 12 months, our editors visited the Kenya Wildlife Service management at their attractive facilities in Nairobi. As a result, we will be featuring KWS prominently in coming editions of Africa Travel Magazine and this and other Worldscene web sites. For the moment, we introduce our readers to KWS with news releases and an excerpt from the organization's excellent web site:

"That Kenya is a "land of contrasts" is not a traveller's guide cliché. The country straddles the equator, in the South East is the Indian Ocean, and to the west is lake Victoria - the second largest fresh water lake in the world. The vegetation varies from the dense tropical forests, the mangrove forests along the coast, to the shruberry of the arid desert lands, to the thick mountainous forests and alpine vegetation along the slopes of the snowcapped Mount Kenya. Kenya's landscape is most fascinating and diverse. And it boasts some of the richest and diverse variety of game in the Parks and Reserves. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is charged with the protection and conservation of the country's biodiversity as presented by its fauna and flora. KWS's role is as diverse as the country itself. " Photo (right) Hon. Minister Morris Dzoro watering newly planted tree (story below).


Re-afforesting Ngong Forest

The Minister waters a tree

By Obed Mule,

Parks and Reserves

The degradation of Ngong forest through illegal removal of forest products and over-grazing has resulted to enormous loss of biological diversity and its value as wildlife habitat, the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife Hon. Morris Dzoro has said. He was speaking on the occasion of a tree planting ceremony at Ngong Hills forest emphasizing that the level of security for the visitors has also dropped in the recent past thus threatening the forest in terms of tourism and catchment values.The minister said that the effects of forest degradation are seen through changes in weather patterns such as low erratic rainfall and even frost.

"Rivers and springs are shrinking with some of the tributaries drying up completely. A recent study on sustainability of water resources in the Ngong catchment facilitated by KWS indicated that the total catchment production has declined by 49.5% over a period of 12 years and this is a matter of grave concern to all of us. The recent power rationing witnessed in the recent past is still fresh in our minds".

Hon. Dzoro said the importance of water catchment areas is vital because it's the foundation of agricultural development. The Minister appealed to all Kenyans in areas where rainfall conditions allow to plant more trees not only for environmental conservation but also for the provision of the many tree-related products.

The function marked the progress in the collaborative efforts between Kenya Wildlife Service, the Forest Department, Twiga Chemicals Ltd. and thelocal community living adjacent to Ngong Hills Forest Reserve. In attendance were KWS Director, Chief Conservator of Forests, the Chairman and Managing Director Twiga Chemicals, DO Ngong, DC Kajiado, Senior Government Officials and Local Leaders.  Attending the function also were delegates of UK and British High commission, the Senior Warden for Lake Nakuru National Park Mr. Joseph Warutere, KWS officials and the Kenya Police. E-mail: communications@kws.org

Darwin Scheme fights for Black Rhinoceros

"Our mission is, "To work with others to sustainably conserve, protect and manage Kenya's invaluable bio-diversity for the benefit of the people of Kenya and as a world heritage".

by Obed Mule

The 5-year Black Rhino Management Strategy for Kenya has given highest priority to biological management, including training and capacity-building for monitoring, data analysis and reporting. Assessing black rhino habitat quality is also necessary to manage existing sanctuaries, and develop new areas for viable populations. Snaring and firearm poaching in National Parks and Rhino Sanctuaries is still a great threat.

Inspecting the Darwin Initiative Project that comprise of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), IUCN, African Conservation Specialist Group and the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Minister for Environment and Agri-environment in the UK Hon. Elliot Morley noted the impacts of the project in relation to KWS management strategies.

"This partnership we believe is a great success and great tribute to everybody who has been involved, the people in the fieldwork, data collection, training and of course the way the information has been taken by Kenya Wildlife Service in relation to its management- well done and we congratulate that".

Today, over 85% of the estimated 500 remaining eastern black rhinos are found in Kenya. The Zoological Society of London has worked closely with KWS to conserve black rhinos since 1993, and is currently leading the Darwin Project.

Speaking at the same function in Lake Nakuru National Park, which is one of the leading rhino sanctuaries in the country, the head of Rhino Programme in KWS, Mr. Martin Mulama, disclosed that there are strategies in place to ensure that the population of black rhinos is growing steadily.

"The Ministry of Environment and Agri-environment in the UK funds the Darwin Initiative Project in Lake Nakuru National Park and other rhino reserves through data collection, analysis and eventually how that data is used for instance in managerial actions like translocation. For us to do translocation we need to know how many animals we are moving, which sex and age categories," said Mulama.

Hon. Elliot reinstated that " Darwin Scheme is a kind of scheme set up to support partnerships, capacity building, improving access to resources and training, and strengthening research and monitoring capacity, with Zoological Society of London, Kenya Wildlife Service and also the local people".

"We shall be pleased when going to have our annual Darwin Initiative lecture which I attend, to say I have been able to see the scheme and how it is of great success". He summarised.



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Alliance Hotels & Resorts

When Africa Travel Magazine's editors paid their second visit to Kenya in the last two years, they became acquainted with the Alliance Hotels Group and will be writing about this fine selection of resort hotels and lodges in our next three issues. www.alliancehotels.com




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