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Governor urges residents to support taskforce report on conservation of Lake Kapnarok game reserve

Baringo governor Stanley Kiptis has called on residents of Kerio Valley to support the recommendations of a taskforce formed in 2014 once released on conservation of Lake Kapnarok National game reserve saying it will address the contentious issue of boundary.

            Governor Kiptis said that his administration was eagerly waiting for the release of the taskforce report as it will inform the next course of action by the relevant government agencies and departments in ironing out some of the touchy issues dating back to 1980s.

            This is intended to revive the once vibrant tourism activities in the national tourist attraction lake formerly described as the Jewel of Baringo because of hosting thousands of white crocodiles and bird species.

            Mr. Kiptis made the call during the burial ceremony of Mzee Enock Masai at Koimogul village in Baringo North Sub County.

            “It is an emotive issue that when fully addressed nobody will feel sidelined and can greatly benefit residents in terms of income generation and employment opportunities,” he said.

            He regretted that due to the land matter, local residents are now tempted to kill or injure wild animals like elephants straying from the neighbouring Kapnarok and Rimoi National game reserve into farms and destroying food crops and other properties.

            The Governor urged residents to explore existing  redress mechanisms whenever the animals invade shambas and destroy their livelihoods including injuring some of the people instead of expressing their anger by taking the law into their hands consequently, killing the animals or inflicting injuries.

            The County boss has welcomed varied opinions submitted by area professionals and incorporated in the taskforce report that will help in deliberating on avenues of transforming the tourism sector within the lake Kapnarok which has been choked by water hyacinth reducing to a pale shadow of its former size.

            He explained that his government is focusing on reviving and opening up tourism activities in lakes Bogoria and Baringo whose water levels had risen to unprecedented levels due to flooding and the water was now slowly receding.

            The taskforce which was formed in 2014 by the then governor Benjamin Cheboi has been gathering information, opinions and documents as well as advise from relevant ministries and government agencies and is expected to hand over the final report to Governor Kiptis soon.

            Speaking during a one day inter-stakeholders Conservation and Dialogue forum held at Kenya School of Government (KSG), Baringo Campus, county deputy KWS warden Peter Lekeren said that the organization plans to convene public conversation and dialogue conferences so as to reach a consensus with the community on the thorny boundary issue before beginning to erect a fence around the Baringo side of the national game reserve.

by Benson Kelio/Joshua Kibet

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