HomeTourism / CultureKenya Tourism Ministry launches first-ever National Wildlife Census

    Kenya Tourism Ministry launches first-ever National Wildlife Census

    On Friday, the Kenya Ministry of Tourism launched the first-ever national wildlife census as part of efforts to preserve and protect wildlife.

    The launch of the process took place at Shimba Hills National Reserve, intending to determine Kenya’s wildlife population and distribution. Additionally, the census would also help determine Kenya’s wildlife population trends over time.

    It would also help identify threats to wildlife conservation and management in Kenya and suggest strategies for protecting wildlife.

    Data to be precise

    Speaking during the event’s launch, Tourism CS, Najib Balala, said they wanted to focus on the whole wildlife, including endangered species and anti-poaching.

    “Today is historic because it is the day we get data on our wildlife. Our focus has been on endangered species, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trade.” Balala said. “We need this data to be precise…we need the data in order to be able to manage the animals.”

    Areas to be covered

    Balala said that they would undertake an aerial census of the wildlife ecosystem in Kenya. This includes Tsavo, Maasai Mara, Meru, Amboseli, Laikipia-Samburu, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Turkana. It would also include marine animals and freshwater birds within Kenya’s Coast and major rivers.

    “This National Wildlife census will help KWS change conservation model which mitigates the human-wildlife conflict while protecting people’s livelihoods,” Balala said, “A model that balances livelihoods and conservation.”

    Transect spacing

    Dr Patrick Omondi, Director at Wildlife Research Training Institute, said the helicopter census would use transect spacing of 500 m.

    This means selecting an area of interest and drawing a line across the area. They would then travel the length of the line (transect) to estimate the animal population in the area.

    KWS said that they would use informative and scientifically sound processes which would ensure they inform the country of what needs emphasis in wildlife conservation. The data collected from the process would give reference to the wildlife not only in Kenya but internationally.

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