For the next ten days, the National Wildlife Census team will be seeking to establish the number and wildlife species that can be found in Turkana.
The team leads from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the implementing institution, paid a courtesy call to County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, George Emoru to share their activities for the exercise.
“It is an important exercise that will assist the county government in knowing the species and in identifying priority areas with specific locations in mind especially in mitigating human-wildlife conflicts,” said CECM Emoru, during the meeting.
He pointed out that South Turkana National Reserve had scarcity of water which exacerbated the human-wildlife conflict as the wildlife cross to the river. He suggested that with prioritizing water provision at the park it would limit the movement of wildlife.
Catherine Wambani, KWS Assistant Director Western Conservation Area, said that she was encouraged that the county was seeking to gazette more area to protect and conserve wildlife. “This will attract more resources from the National Government and make it a priority in management as well as support developmental infrastructure.”
The Acting Chief Officer Philip Lokaala said requested that the final report should be shared as the county had engaged 54 community rangers. The report, he said, would assist the county government in the deployment of the rangers in the appropriate areas for the purpose of conserving and protecting the wildlife.
On her part, Pauline Ngoli Pusiye – the Deputy Director of Natural Resources – said that Turkana County had a unique ecosystem as majority of the wildlife is found in community land and with the presence of the international borders (Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia) wildlife can be found on both sides of the borders.
“We have a lot of cross border movement of wildlife and with the National Wildlife Census report, the National and Turkana County Governments can collaborate in managing the migratory routes identified in this exercise,” she added.
The National Wildlife Census is a three-month exercise, launched in May 2021, targeting all conservation areas and wildlife rich counties in Kenya. This is the first ever wildlife census that will establish both land and aquatic wildlife population status.
Others present in the meeting were James Mathenge (Senior Research Scientist – KWS ) and Joseph Erupe (KWS Senior Warden based in Lodwar).