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IFAW, Maasai community secure corridor for Amboseli elephants
Date Published: 24 Jul, 2013
Nearly 16,000 acres of the Kitenden Corridor have been added to Amboseli National Park after the signing of a lease agreement between the local Maasai community and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in a ceremony last week.
The leased area, owned by community of the Olguluilui/Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR), will extend elephant range space from Amboseli National Park to the Tanzanian border, where a similar strip of land, also referred to as the Kitenden Corridor connects to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.
“Paradise for elephants and other wildlife has just grown that much bigger,” said Azzedine Downes, President of IFAW, during the ceremony.
Securing the wildlife corridors and migratory routes is a Vision 2030 flagship project which involves the formulation of strategies to reclaim wildlife corridors and migratory routes that have been interfered with by human activity.
“The Government recognizes and appreciates the role played by IFAW in support of wildlife conservation in our country, in particular conserving elephants and other endangered species and their habitats,” said Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
“The greatest threat to wildlife conservation today lies mainly on the human population pressure on scarce land resources and this leads to human-wildlife conflicts. This calls for the need to plan on how to manage the elephant populations and this Kitenden Corridor conservation area is one such approach,” said Wakhungu.
KWS director William Kiprono welcomed the land lease agreement saying it empowers the community who host wildlife on their land to accrue benefits directly through sustainable utilization.
About 1,400 elephants live in the Amboseli ecosystem, and routinely move into the ranch area, particularly during the rainy season occasioning human/elephant conflict in the area.
The Kitenden Corridor which runs from Amboseli to Mount Kilimanjaro will ensure that a favoured route that elephants have used for millennia to move across the Tanzanian border is secured from habitat fragmentation and potential conflicts with local communities.
The OOGR, and five other adjoining group ranches, are the first community in Kenya that has agreed to an ecosystem management plan between Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and Maasai community group ranches that surround the park.
Plans are underway to transform the Kitenden Corridor into an operational conservancy.