NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Scientists have called for an
urgent action to help save Kenya’s wildlife population from the
current massive decline.
The Kenyan and
German scientists who conducted an aerial survey of wildlife in
the East Africa nation said wildlife population has declined by
around 68 percent from 1977-2018.
“Increased human and
livestock populations and climate change are to blame for the
decline,” Joseph Ogutu, lead researcher and lecturer at German’s
University of Hohenheim, Germany said in a recent study.
The survey found out
that seven wildlife species across Kenya were classed as
critically endangered, 19 as endangered and 37 as vulnerable by
2013 while 44 ecosystems currently classed as endangered.
Ogutu said the
decline shows no signs of stopping, with species like the
Thomson’s gazelle, warthog and oryx among others, now under
severe threat while numbers of Grevy’s zebra and waterbuck have
fallen lower than 2,000, putting them amongst a number of
species whose future viability is under extreme risk.
He said that
although some species appear to do well when living in
conjunction with humans, this has led to those which are
particularly vulnerable to human expansion suffering some of the
The scientist said
degradation and fragmentation of rangeland habitats, clearing
for agriculture, settlements and uncontrolled logging for the
charcoal trade may be preventing wildlife from utilizing certain
The team also found
that some migratory species, such as wildebeest and zebra are
less likely to venture into the Mara region during dry seasons
than previously seen, suggesting that these factors are
contributing to a disruption of migration routes.
The study found that
even though overgrazing is causing the degradation of forage
resources hence the decline of cattle in the areas, sheep and
goats have seen massive growth over the study period.
According to the
survey, the populations of sheep, goats and camels increased by
more than 76 percent, a likelihood that the increase is putting
added grazing pressure on land that is shared with wildlife and
restricting their access to resources and cover.
livestock, aggravated by poor forage due to steadily climbing
temperatures, has driven wild buffalo from some areas
altogether,” he added.
Ogutu suggested that
more needs to be done to encourage wildlife conservancies across
Africa, not just in Kenya.
“It is important
governments make wildlife conservancies economically viable for
poor landowners to volunteer their land for use by wildlife and
prevent the poisoning and poaching of wild species, as a way of
restoring wildlife populations and their ecosystems,” Ogutu
He cited Nakuru
Conservancy that has succeeded as many previously declining
species showed a marked increase between 1996 and 2015.
praised Kenya for adapting the Wildlife Conservation and
Management Act in 2013 but said that some restrictions need to
be placed on land fragmentation such as through fences, illegal
livestock grazing in parks, reserves and conservancies and
livestock levels to reduce the impact of grazing on the
He said some
landowners use the money from conservancies to build fences and
increase their livestock herd size, causing further competition
between their livestock and wildlife benefiting from the
observed that for the realization of conservation goals to be
achieved, there is need for continued monitoring of population
conservancies, paired with policy reviews, effective wildlife
management institutions and vibrant markets for wildlife will be
the best way forward for conservation in Kenya,” he added.