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Don’t kill any more Lions, urges KWS
Date Published: 04 Jan, 2012
Mr. Michael Kipkeu, Senior Assistant Director Community Wildlife Service addresses the Maasai Community from Kitengela at a conflict resolution meeting on the killing of lions at Muchiriri Valley in Sholinge area on January 3,2011
Kenya Wildlife Service has urged the Maasai community in the larger Kitengela Division to strengthen conflict resolution committees that have been placed but have not been effective. This was said at a conflict resolution meeting held between the Maasai Community, KWS and other stakeholders after rising cases of wildlife- human conflict in the area. The conflict had been occasioned by lions from the Nairobi National Park that have been mauling livestock in the area and led the community to kill 3 lions in a span of 2 weeks. Conflict resolution committees are tasked to report cases of wildlife human conflict and streamline response time in securing human life, their domestic produce and livestock.
The Maasai living in the area had accused KWS of not responding in time whenever the conflicts occur and urged KWS to strengthen its response. In line with this Mr. Michael Kipkeu, the Senior Assistant Director Community Wildlife Service issued a directive where more KWS personnel and other resources will be deployed to handle conflicts in the larger Kitengela and Kajiado areas.
The wet season in the area has seen wildlife migrate out of the park hence leading lions and other predators after them, resulting in the unfortunate predation of livestock. This happens every year and the expected dry season will see all wildlife back to the park. The two lions were killed at the Munchiriri Valley in Sholinge while one lion was killed in Empakasi all this in Kitengela Division. “When you kill these lions, you will have dangerously resolved an issue on the short term but contributed to loss in the Kenya’s economy as lions form part of both treasure and the Kenyan Tourism product, our economy relies heavily on tourism and so if we kill lions it’s like committing economic suicide!” said Mr. Kipkeu.
Mr. James Turere the chairman of Kitengela land owners Association (KILA) said that despite the killing of the lions they are willing to stop so long as KWS will honor their word. He also added that they are ready to partner with KWS in ensuring that no poaching will be done along the wildlife corridor.
The Wildlife Foundation (TWF) has contributed Ksh. 3 million towards consolation of livestock that have been mauled by lions and other carnivores in the Kitengela area. In addition KWS will identify a donor to contribute a further Kshs 2 million to support TWF. “KWS has no mandate to compensate through the compensation scheme; it is bound by law until the wildlife bill is passed.” Said Mr. Kipkeu.
Maasais have co-existed with wildlife since time in memorial and KWS recognizes this by appointing a representative in the board from the community in a three year term. If the conflict increases in the larger kitengela area and leasing programme fails together with the consolation schemes then plans will be implemented under the KWS management to fence the park as the last result to curb the conflict scourge.
In controlling this, the communities over the years have been urged to develop plans and proposals to set up conservancies, eco lodges and other tourism facilities along the corridor. Studies have been conducted on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Sites have been identified thus the community have all the resources to safeguard their land in economic grounds.
In December Last year, Mr. John Keen signed an easement deal with KWS and the Africa Wildlife Fund (AWF) on securing 100 hectares of land for the Nairobi National Park. Keen’s land is adjacent to Nairobi National Park and the execution of a voluntary environmental easement adds over habitat to the Park. Nairobi National Park, one of Kenya’s most visited parks, is dependent upon the open lands to the south for wildlife movement, habitat and dispersal. These private lands have become increasingly threatened from land sales, land conversion and habitat fragmentation, putting the entire Park at risk.