As the world marked World Wildlife day Wednesday, a model adopted by a five year old conservancy within the Mara ecosystem is redefining efforts to tackle the Human-Wildlife conflict challenge.
Nashulai conservancy, which was recognized for its efforts in conserving the environment during the 75 session of the UN General assembly late last year, has integrated communities in their operations who are now champions in the conservation efforts.
According to the conservancy’s Chief Executive Officer Nelson Ole Reiya, the concept was devised following realization that displacing communities in the name of protecting wildlife could prove counterproductive. Reiya says the conservancy uses a mixed- use conservation model where the surrounding community continues to share the same land with wildlife.
Not only has the framework helped in conserving the environment, but proved critical during the lock-down resulting from the Coronavirus Pandemic acting as a support system for local communities through provision of relief supplies.
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“the conservancy helped the community during the covid-19 pandemic season by giving us food. They have also helped in empowering us make beads, soap and sanitary towels” says Caroline Kiok, a member of the Nashulai conservancy.
The women have also been empowered through poultry farming, which has offered them an alternative means of earning income.
According to Nadutali Tingisha, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, most of the members have been able to feed their families during the Covid-19 crisis resulting from the innovative programme. “I’ve been able to pay school fees for my children because of the income I earn from my chicken business and beads making” she says.
Among the programmes undertaken by the conservancy includes the rehabilitation of River Sekenani and planting bamboo on the banks of the river that flows through the wildlife-enclosed land. In the programme, women collect garbage and plant trees along the river as a way of empowering them to live a decent life.
The conservancy is among 17 such establishments in the Mara Eco-system that employ the traditional way of managing wildlife to minimize cases of human-wildlife conflict.
Maasai Mara chief warden James Ole Sidiyo lauded the government for conserving major forests including Loita and Maasai Mau forests that are a major source of water, which flows through the Mara – Serengeti ecosystem.
Sidiyo says the launch of the five-year management plan for the conservancies launched by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala will go a long way in conserving the game reserve as it will guide communities residing around conservancies.
According, Edwin Nyamanga, a manager at the Ashnil Camp there is need to enhance conservation efforts within the Mara ecosystem so as to attract foreign exchange in the country.
Nicholas Murero, the Mara Ecosystem coordinator, says for the efforts to bear fruits, there is need for community support urging area residents to report suspicious people who come in the area to hunt for wild animals.
Narok County Commissioner Evans Achoki says the government is in the process of planting 43 million tree seedlings in a bid to boost forest cover in the county. Achoki saying the county is already enjoying the efforts of conservation as there is enough pasture at the Mara Game Reserve.
On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March – the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1973 – as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
Between 200 and 350 million people live within or adjacent to forested areas around the world, relying on the various ecosystem services provided by forest and forest species for their livelihoods and to cover their most basic needs, including food, shelter, energy and medicines.