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KWS BOT vice chair hands over community projects in Tsavo conservation area
Date Published: 31 May, 2013
Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) covers about 60,000 km2. The conservation area has three national parks namely Tsavo East National Park – the largest National Park in Kenya, covering an area of 12,000km2, Tsavo West National Park, covering an area of 8,000km2 is the second largest park in Kenya and Chyulu Hills National Park which occupies an area of 8,000km2. TCA has a population of about 12,500 elephants (38,000 nationally)
The Tsavo Conservation area faces serious challenges including poaching for elephant and rhino trophies, livestock incursion into the national parks and ranches and human wildlife conflict. The area has a total of 31 ranches within Taita Taveta County which occupy an area of over one million acres. The ranches hold a huge eco-tourism potential which translates to an enormous economic development potential for the county. Eco-tourism in the area hinges on rich wildlife population especially elephants in the ranches, vast natural areas (wild lands) in the ranches, an already existing strong coast tourism circuit and beautiful sceneries – Taita hills.
Tsavo Conservation Area is a vast human wildlife conflict hot spot. To mitigate conflict, KWS has constructed over 350 KM of electric fences within the area. The Maktau – Ndii fence is currently under construction. Others in the pipeline include the proposed Bura – Kamtonga- Kasigau electric fence.
KWS therefore places a lot of emphasis on this area in terms of community partnerships and engagement towards peaceful co-existence of people and wildlife within its strategy of ‘Reaching out to communities’. Towards this end, the Vice Chair-KWS Board Mrs. Margaret Mwakima, who was the chief guest handed over four (4) water projects and two (2) enterprise projects at a total cost of Kshs. 21.43M on Friday May 24 and Saturday May 25, 2013 in colorful ceremonies. These projects are:-
The Chief Guest encouraged the local communities to conserve wildlife, enhance management of water catchment areas and carry out reforestation programmes. She also applauded the communities for complimenting KWS ant- poaching efforts by giving information on suspected poachers and helping in stopping cattle influx into the parks.
In the same vein, she urged the communities to be self reliant through income generating activities such as creation of conservancies with accommodation facilities and diverse ecotourism activities as enterprise projects.
In his speech Senior Assistant Director in charge of Tsavo Conservation Area- Mr Julius Kimani, highlighted that Taita –Taveta County has a huge potential for ecotourism enterprises and thus KWS through the Community Enterprise Development Strategy is keen to work closely with them to realize this.