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How WWF’s work in Kenya is tackling the illegal wildlife trade

 

Ndera Community Conservancy has helped the local community identify and nurture a close connection with the wildlife that they share space with, and created a commitment to the conservation of this wildlife and its habitat. And we’re helping to make sure this positivity continues!

Ndera community rangers testing one of the two motorcyles donated to them by WWF Kenya © WWF-KenyaNdera community rangers testing one of the two motorcyles donated to them by WWF Kenya © WWF-Kenya

In my last blog I talked about the growing support that we’re been providing to the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy. In nearby Tana River County, we’ve also been supporting Ndera Community Conservancy. This conservancy was established in 2010, thanks to the Northern Rangelands Trust, having been inspired by the progress made in Ishaqbini – and it’s going from strength to strength!

The area’s challenges

Ndera community members are mostly semi-nomadic livestock farmers, although a few also grow crops in the areas of higher rainfall. Population growth in the area has meant that there’s enormous pressure on water resources, which is being worsened by the impacts of climate change, and this has contributed to changes in land use. Increasingly, we’re seeing human settlement on wildlife habitats, nesting and foraging sites, dispersal areas and migration corridors. Wildlife, people, and livestock are competing for limited water, and this is causing conflict.

This area of Kenya is an important habitat corridor for elephants © Martin Harvey / WWFThis area of Kenya is an important habitat corridor for elephants © Martin Harvey / WWF

Poaching is also a problem in the area. Small mammals such as dik-diks and hirola (both antelope species) are targeted for bushmeat. Some sections of Ndera are also important habitat corridors for African elephants and it’s suspected that some elephants passing through these corridors are poached, as well as being involved in human-wildlife conflict.

Encouragingly though, local people here understand the need to regulate their use of natural resources, and they understand that the presence of wild animals, such as elephants, is an indicator of a ‘healthy’ environment. The conservancy has been crucial in achieving this – it’s made a big difference to livelihoods and it’s helping to empower communities to play a stronger role in the management of natural resources.

How WWF is helping

WWF's Coastal Kenya Programme manager handing over two motorcycles donated to Ndera community conservancy by WWF-Kenya © WWF-KenyaWWF’s Coastal Kenya Programme manager handing over two motorcycles donated to Ndera community conservancy by WWF-Kenya © WWF-Kenya

Increasingly, we’ve been using our experience of working with the Aweer to also support the community in Ndera. Recently, we’ve been helping to raise awareness and understanding of the laws on illegal wildlife trade and the role that communities play in combatting wildlife crime. To support this role we also provided the conservancy with two motorcycles so as to strengthen daily community ranger patrols.

The community rangers in Ndera have been doing a great job – they’ve been increasing their patrol distance and frequency (both of which are instrumental in deterring illegal activity). They’ve also improved their role in monitoring, recording and reporting illegal activities such as poaching and illegal logging as well as human-wildlife conflict events, and we know that the relevant authorities – like Kenya Wildlife Service – are using this information to inform management decisions. But the conservancy rangers operate in really remote, extensive and difficult terrain – patrolling isn’t easy!

The motorbikes that we’ve provided will really boost the rangers’ efforts to monitor illegal activity and monitor changes in biodiversity. They’ve already told us that it’s now easier to move around the region, to collect data and respond to conflict and poaching events, as well as enabling greater engagement on livelihood activities. Great news all-round!

WWF’s work in Boni-Dodori is part of WWF’s Coastal Kenya Programme, which is gratefully supported by players of People’s Postcode LotterySize of Wales and the UK Government through the Department for International Development.

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