The government is concerned about the declining numbers of wildlife in the country, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said.
Balala attributed the decline in wildlife population in the country to poaching and competing interests such as agriculture, human settlement, and climate change.
Speaking on Monday when he commissioned the fencing of 800 acres that will be used as a sanctuary for mountain bongo antelopes within Mt. Kenya forest, Balala added that his ministry had embarked on protecting smaller animals such as antelopes that are now highly endangered.
“Our focus has mainly been on protecting the big animals such as elephants and rhinos but now we are extending the same to the antelopes whose population is fast declining as well,” Balala said.
The CS observed that there were less than 100 mountain bongo antelopes and 70 sable antelopes at Shimba hills, and only 15 roan antelopes at Ruma National Park and therefore underscored the need to protect them to allow them reproduce in order to boost their populations.
He said that the government was keen on addressing the competing interests between humans and conservation that is widespread in many parts of the country by appreciating that wildlife was a national heritage that must be protected for posterity.
Balala further revealed that his ministry was in the process of profiling all wildlife whose population was declining with a view of coming up with a conservation strategy that will reverse the trend.
Laikipia Deputy Governor John Mwaniki who also graced the function said that his government was keen on partnering with wildlife conservationists as one way of ensuring that the county remains a preferred tourist destination due to its rich wildlife diversity.
By Martin Munyi