The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources in partnership with with Mercy Corps, held a community public participation on gazettement of Songot Ranges and Lotikipi Game Reserve, in Turkana West Sub-county.
While giving his opening remarks, CEC Charles Lokioto said that the county government would like to gazette the two areas for protection and conservation.
“Our forefathers had their own systems of conservation and had established boundaries to this effect,” he said, “the county government would like to continue in this tradition and assist the community reinforce these important natural resources.”
He further added that the gazettement would ensure that there is grazing pasture during droughts and enhancing livelihoods through nature-based activities like bee-keeping and eco-tourism.
He was accompanied by Chief Officers Rosemary Nchinyei (Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources) and Pauline Lokuruka (Education, Sports and Social Protection).
The over 50 participants, from the community drawn from different kraals, National Government administration officials and representatives of the area Member of Parliament and Member of County Assembly (MCA), met in Lokichoggio to deliberate on the way forward in gazetting these important resources.
MCAs Cosmas Longor (Nanam) and Bethwel Kobong’in (Songot and Majority Leader) called for the gazettement to be expedited as it would provide the community with employment opportunities.
They also raised concerns about wildlife poaching in the area and called upon the concerned authorities to investigate and prosecute the offenders.
The community appealed for a benchmarking exercise so they can learn from other successful community conservations and also more public barazas to educate the kraals near the ranges.
Other government institutions involved in this exercise were Kenya Wildlife Service represented by the Warden and Kenya Forest Service.