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Balala calls for protection of the endangered species

The  Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib  Balala with  other government officials admire  KWS  attractions  when  he  toured Ruma National Park in Homa Bay County on Tuesday March 3, 2020. Photo by Laura Atieno/KNA.

The  government through the ministry of tourism and wildlife will create buffer zones around National parks and game reserves to prevent fire outbreaks spreading into the sanctuaries.

The  Tourism and  Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib  Balala  said that the frequent fire outbreaks in game parks could be attributed to the practice of burning of bushes by farmers during land preparations, thus destroying the biodiversity in the parks.

Speaking  during the celebrations to mark the World Wildlife Day at Ruma National Park in Homa Bay County on Tuesday, Balala  said the government was committed to marketing small national parks like Ruma so as to uplift them to the same status as the famous Masai Mara, Tsavo and other major national parks.

He also encouraged the local business community to invest in establishing resorts in the parks to provide hospitality services and also to promote tourism.

Balala said that as an incentive to the domestic tourists, the park will waive entry charges for the visitors during weekends.

He said that the government had put in place measures to curb the menace of poaching and told the local communities to discard the traditional cultural beliefs which promoted poaching by requiring that part of dowry be paid using game meat.

“I want to warn those bent on perpetrating poaching that the government will catch up with them and the minimum sentence for those found guilty of poaching or dealing in game trophies will serve a minimum of five years imprisonment,” he said.

He lamented that due to habitat loss the roan antelope which is only found in Ruma, was one of the endangered species in the country with only twelve of them remaining.

The cabinet secretary further added that the government had embarked on a tree planting compaign that will ensure the planting of 200,000 trees in national parks and game reserves in the country, including 5,000 in Ruma National Park.

Commenting on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Balala called for the support of the initiative, noting that it will improve governance by promoting inclusivity and proper management of resources.

He further called for changes in governance structure to reduce the wage bill and ensure a lean government that will focus on development

At the same time, he hailed the handshake between former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying it ushered in an enabling environment for economic prosperity.

Among those who graced the occasion were the Homa Bay County Commissioner, David  Kipkemei, the Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his Deputy Hamilton Orata and Ndhiwa MP, Martine Owino among others.

By  Laura  Atieno/Davis Langat

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