Renowned Kenyan conservationist Mr. Jim Justus Nyamu has called for the proper funding and equipping of the Kenya Wildlife Service to enable it discharge is mandate effectively.
Nyamu, the founder and director of the Elephant Neighbour Centre in Kenya lamented that the service lacked proper equipment to monitor and conserve wildlife in the country leading to the loss of wild animals, the most affected being elephants.
Speaking in Malindi after completing a 621-kilometre walk aimed at raising awareness about the need to conserve elephants, the conservationist said he had visited a number of KWS offices in various parts of the country and found that some of the offices were mud walled while some officers lacked boots.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Kareem Mohamed, a director with charitable organisation Helping Hands, who noted KWS did not have enough facilities to protect wildlife, especially in the open arks and conservancies.
Nyamu, who started the walk in Mombasa and visited a number of conservation areas and their surroundings, at the same time called on Parliamentarians to be at the forefront in passing laws aimed at conserving wildlife as well as addressing the menace of human-wildlife conflicts.
Nyamu, who has been walking for elephants since 2013, started the walk in Mombasa on June 11 and passed through areas bordering the Tsavo East National Park and the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve to create awareness on the need to conserve elephants for posterity.
He called for concerted efforts to slow down the rate of decline of elephant numbers in the country, noting that currently, Kenya has only about 35,000 elephants. He said future generations may not see elephants due to their high mortality rate of 4 percent compared to a birthrate of 2.5 percent.
Nyamu attributed the current elephant population decline to climate change that had forced the jumbos to leave their natural habitats in search of water and pasture thereby conflicting with human beings who retaliate by killing them.
“The government has done its best to reduce poaching, but the greatest danger to the animals now is climate change. The jumbos have been forced out of their natural habitats in search of water and pasture and in the process come into contact with humans who are unforgiving whenever the jumbos destroy crops and kill people,” he said.
He lamented that some people have been spearing the elephants while others place nails along their paths, which when the jumbos step on die extremely painful deaths.
“It will not be easy to drive the elephants away because they are many but I call upon residents of areas prone to elephant invasion to be patient as they (elephants) are there for a season because it has started raining in the parks,” Nyamu pleaded.
Nyamu told a crowd at the Alaskan grounds that he would conduct a similar walk in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in two-months’ time before moving to other parts of the world with a similar message – protecting elephants.