Tanzania, Kenya begin joint wildlife census in northwest

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The Kenyan and Tanzanian governments have launched joint wildlife census in the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve and Serengeti National Park.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Assistant Director Ecological Monitoring Shadrack Ngene said late Tuesday the two-week exercise will take the stock of the population of the elephants, buffaloes, as well as livestock and homes around the park.

Ngene said the KWS in conjunction with the WWF and other partners will conduct the aerial total aerial count of elephants in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.

The exercise, which takes place every three years, will cost 80,000 U.S. dollars.

“The main objective of the exercise is to establish the state and position of our wildlife, and the exercise will enable the service to direct necessary resources towards dealing with the issues affecting various wildlife species,” said Ngene.

He added that they will cover an area of 12,500 square kilometers in the Mara-Serengeti areas in Kenya and Tanzania.

Ngene said that in the next one month after the exercise is completed, the stakeholders will make a report and will make it official to the public.

WWF Director in-charge of Conservation Jared Bosire said main of the activity is to look at the trend and the population of the elephants and see whether the conservation efforts have brought changes.

Brian Heath, KWS Board of Trustee Brian Heath, said for the conservation to succeed in Kenya, there is need for concerted efforts among all the stakeholders to ensure challenges like poaching and human-wildlife conflicts are reduced.

“Some of the species have declined by 60 percent while others up to 80 percent due to many challenges and we should ensure that the few remaining are protected and conserved so that the wildlife will not be extinct,” said Heath.

]According to the last census contacted three years ago, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and other conservancies in Narok County is home to about 3,000 elephants. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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