June 2006 Newsletter


MEMBERS GATHERING
4 JUNE 2006
Members present: 16

SPEAKER: Mrs. Florence Kulecho, Sr. Warden for Nairobi National Park.

Mrs. Kulecho is not new to NNP. She had been posted here in a different capacity from 1985-1990. In between, she had served KWS in Tsavo East. Now that the Strategic Plan for 2005-2010 has been launched, there is a roadmap on which KWS and its wardens can operate against. The Strategic Plan will implement NNP Management Plan, which is the protection of dispersal areas to ensure the sustainability of the biodiversity of the Park. NNP must be sustainably managed as a world heritage. The Plan’s objectives are to conserve biodiversity, provide opportunities for KWS efficiency, maintain dispersal areas, and protect wildlife. These documents have been shared with stakeholders to empower all participants. Management issues for the ecosystem are habitat and species management, cooperation between the Park and the community, and security and tourism enhancement.

Nairobi National Park is important as an urban park to give Nairobi a unique character. There is a great need to strengthen the value of national assets like NNP, and as such must be protected. Wildlife is a crucial aspect of tourism, and tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner for Kenya. Urbanization must be controlled in respect of wildlife conservation.

KWS will manage NNP and its dispersal areas according to zones. Zone One, closest to NNP’s southern boundary, experiences the highest activity, and experiences the greatest threat to biodiversity conservation. Intervention is needed to safeguard the corridor for adequate wildlife passage. River drainage into the Park is also affected by heavy human activity. Only rain fed agriculture is sustainable. Borehole drilling greatly damages the underground acquifer. Kajiado is only suitable for ranching and wildlife use. Sand harvesting is also greatly effecting the area, and must be controlled. However, Mrs. Kulecho is certain under the new KWS structure, the decline in wildlife numbers will reverse.

The Management Plan will address issues of: pollution control of water, air, noise, and solid waste; removal of exotic species; water resource management. Exotic plant removal includes species such as Lentana camara within the Park, and control Eucalyptus tree plantations. Lentana camara growth is spreading and fast becoming and unmanageable situation. A comprehensive water analysis needs to be completed regarding the overflow into the Park. Pollutants must be flushed out.

An important benchmark for biodiversity success is the population of lions within an ecosystem. The number of lions within NNP ecosystem is yet to be determined. Mrs. Kulecho confirms the number has declined. A census needs to be done, and the lion movement monitored. (Mrs. Sikand, FoNNaP Vice Chair, confirms that fresh, large lion foot prints were seen at Mbagathi River, 21 May 2006) Indigenous trees are to be planted along the Park boundary.

The greatest challenge ahead will be the management of Park and community relations. The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning will play a significant role to secure the dispersal area. KWS cannot do it alone. This will be a tough task; there is so much conflicting land use practice and activity without organisation to control. The consequences of a lack of an integrated land use plan are highly damaging environmentally. Partnership among all stakeholders is key to success to the development of an ecosystem Master Plan. Positive land use policy needs to be enforced, with continuous monitoring and evaluation. The communities in dispersal areas need to be encouraged to participate in tourism activities an benefits sharing in order to tolerate and coexist with wildlife. An awareness for local crafts can be created, and education of negative environmental impacts, e.g, bushmeat, and quarrying. Key areas are education, dialogue and awareness. Negative activities need to be abandoned, and KWS policies supported. The future of the Park depends on the continued southern dispersal area.

Wildlife security is threatened by continued snaring. Along Mbagathi River are many snares.
Tourist visitation to NNP needs to be managed. NNP is the most accessible of Kenyan parks. More revenue from the parks means greater contribution to the economy. NNP needs to generate sufficient revenue. NNP needs to be marketed more vigorously, and Park infrastructure needs to be improved. Visitors need to know that NNP is part of an open ecosystem, and that the wildlife which occupy the Park are migratory; Park wildlife viewing is not static. Mrs. Kulecho stresses that a combined approach is critical.

KWS Announces New Park Entry Tariffs (effective 1 July 2006) – Please see the KWS website for latest park fees.

USAID/KENYA WRITES FROM ITS WEBSITE, 13 June 2006: “Natural Resources Management Success Story – From Lions to Leases : Kitengela Community”

. . . The Nairobi National Park is one of USAID/Kenya’s Conservation of Resources through Enterprise (CORE) program focal areas. CORE’s main intervention in this area is human-wildlife conflict and community education and awareness programs. . .

The Kitengela Wildlife Conservation Lease program was born from various consultative meetings between the KWS park management and Kitengela stakeholders. At the onset, a total of 704 acres from 18 landowners were leased. Each landowner received USD$4 per acre per year.

Narianto Oiputa Lika, a 60 year old widow, heard about the Kitengela Wildlife Conservation Lease program in 2002, during a community outreach initiative by KWS. She was attracted to the program because she had witnessed the benefits her neighbors who had joined the program in 200 had enjoyed. Narianto leased 80 acres of her land to KWS and in December 2003 Narianto had received a total of USD$ 320 from the program. Previously, her only source of income was proceeds from the sale of milk, which barely sustained her family of eight children, three of who are old enough to attend school. Of her eight children, three daughters had been married off at 16 years due to lack of school fees.

With the supplemental income from the Kitengela Lease program, Narianto can now send her two sons and one daughter to school. Evelyn Kesilai, Narianto’s youngest daughter is a paramount testimony to the Kitengela Wildlife Conservation Lease Program contribution to female education in a community that has traditionally attached little value to female education. While Evelyn’s three elder sisters were married by the age of sixteen, Evelyn is a Form II student at Muindi Mbingu High School in Nairobi, and is 18 years old. Most girls in this age group (17-18 years) countrywide took their national high school examination at the close of 2004 and will be joining college and university in mid 2005. For Evelyn, however, lack of school fees in previous years compelled her to postpone high school until funds were available, and as Narianto says, “better late to secure an education, than an early marriage and illiteracy for my youngest daughter”. She also adds that young girls whose parents lack funds to educate them are the most susceptible to early pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. . .

ENVIRONMENT: EU to fund Ksh 705m programme

The Nation reports on 28 March 2006, The European Union (EU) had donated Ksh 705 million to fund community environmental programmes in the country. The money will be channelled through the four year Community Development for Environment Management Programme (CDEM) to be unveiled next month.

Speaking at a one-day National Biodiversity Conservation (BCP) workshop in Nairobi, the EU representative said the funds would finance a five-year programme to cover environment, poverty reduction and ecosystem projects.

The workshop was held to examine achievements and challenges facing the country on environmental conservation. BCP has encouraged initiatives that minimise conflicts between people and biodiversity conservation as well as strengthening efforts that reduce threats to biodiversity conservation.

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