The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has appointed a team of honorary wildlife wardens to assist in conservation efforts and promote tourism in the Coast Region.
The honorary wardens, who were gazetted last month, will serve for a term of three years, and will be responsible for resource mobilization, Acting Coast KWS Director Ms Lillian Ajuoga said.
Honorary wildlife wardens are volunteer conservationists drawn from various fields to assist in the conservation of wildlife using their various areas of expertise.
Speaking during an induction training for the officers, Ajuoga said the conservationists had been drawn from counties bordering the Indian Ocean – from Kiunga in Lamu County to Vanga in Kwale County.
During the training, the honorary wardens were taken through the KWS Charter, the Conservation Management Act and the Code of Conduct for Honorary Wardens, which stipulate the responsibilities and powers of honorary wardens.
“Some of the duties they are supposed to undertake include problem animal control and marketing activities to promote tourism in the Coast conservation area,” Ajuoga said adding, “They are also expected to assist in veterinary issues, to conduct conservation education, awareness creation and other duties.”
Ajuoga said the honorary wardens were experts in different fields. They include veterinary doctors, pilots, forest conservationists as well as persons interested in tourism issues.
“We have brought all of the them on board so that we can tap their expertise in conservation of wildlife,’ she said.
Ajuoga pointed out that the Coast Conservation Area had unique natural features such as beautiful corals and mangrove forests as well as mega fauna like dolphins and turtles, that require protection.
The acting assistant director said KWS was planning to diversify tourism products, rebrand national parks and improve infrastructure within conservancies through the help of the volunteer wardens.
Some of the honorary wardens who spoke to the Kenya News Agency vowed to assist in conservation and promotion of tourism through resource mobilization.
They included Ali Shebwana from Lamu County and Andy Thomas, the proprietor of Andy Company that supplies boats and other marine equipment in East Africa.
By Emmanuel Masha