FORUM FOCUS 1602 - page 1

CONSERVATION INACTION
February2016 IssueNo. 5
INTHIS EDITION
-
LWFstrategic
planningcalender
2016
Pg2
ProposedKenya
birdmapping
initiativeset to
boost Laikipia’s
CitizenScientists
initiative
Pg8
T
he growth of human
populations
in
the
Laikipia
eco-system
over the last few decades has
resulted in a significant reduction
of wildlife habitat. Increasing
amounts of land is continuously
being sought for crop farming as
well as to make room for human
settlements and their respective
infrastructures
in
wildlife
dispersal areas. Unfortunately,
these developments have resulted
in human wildlife conflicts as
the later often raid crops in the
farmlands. It is for this reason that
electric fences were introduced as
a mitigation measure as well as a
wildlifemanagement tool.
TheWestLaikipiaFenceproject,
initiated by LWF in 2007 with
the support from IFAW, KWS,
and Constituency Development
Funds, strives toprevent elephants
from leaving large-scale ranches
and moving onto smallholder
farms in Western Laikipia.
Between 2008 and 2012, 133km
of the fence was constructed
along the boundaries of six large-
scale ranches, as well as two ring
fences built around smallholder-
cultivated areas. Pastoralists and
many smallholder farms have
begun to benefit from the barriers
which have directly resulted in
higher crop yields.
But addressing Human Elephant
Conflict (HEC) is complex,
and
even
though
fences
provide a sustainable solution
implementation of HECs has
faced its fair share of challenges.
The destruction of fences by
vandals as they break into private
owned ranches tograze their cattle
has increasingly been recorded
in Laikipia. Insignificant fines
for those that destroy the fence
means that there is repeated
vandalism. In addition, authorities
lack the capacity to make arrests
and ensure that the appropriate
fines are enforced. This, coupled
with the limited understanding
by magistrates about the value
of wildlife and the role fences
play within the landscape, adds
to the challenges that need to
be addressed. However not all
challenges are caused by humans.
There are also certain “soft spots”
where problematic elephants
repeatedly break the fence in
searchof food from farms orwhen
migrating across the landscape.
The Laikipia County Governor
formed a taskforce comprising
of government agencies, NGOs,
private
conservancies
and
other stakeholders to look into
sustainable solutions to Human
Elephant Conflicts. The Laikipia
HECTask Force first convened in
May 07, 2014 with the mandate
to manage the construction
and maintenance of the West
Laikipia Fence and implement
structures that would support its
sustainability. After a short lull
in activity as a result of various
factors, the HEC task force
reconvened in January 2015 in
order to get back on trackwith its
mandate. During this meeting it
was decided that:
LaikipiaHEC task forceback
on track tomanage fences
Conservation
Education inLaikipia
set tobenefit from
strongpartnerships.
Pg3
Poisoningof
vultures
stirsupquestions
forwildlife
regulations
Pg4
Problematic
elephants repeatedly
break the fence in
search of food from
farms
SimonMatheri checks thevoltageat asectionof theWest Laikipia fence
• TheLaikipiaCounty
Government will procure
all materials required for the
upgradeandmaintenanceof the
of theWest LaikipiaFence;
• That Ol Pejeta Conservancy
(OPC)willmanage theupgrade
of theWest Laikipia Fence and
provide oversight for its main-
tenance onADCMutara;
• LWF will manage communi-
cations for the project at the
national, local and specific
constituency levels for neigh-
bouring smallholders groups
and pastoralists served by the
fence;
• ADC
Mutara,
Ngorare
Ranch and Laikipia Nature
Conservancy will provide
the necessary access and
support to OPC to enable the
Conservancy to carry out the
fence upgrade work. They will
also recruit and employ staff to
upgradeandmaintain the fence,
provide security, and manage
community relations that will
allow them to access grazing
areas and other resources in
accordance with the Laikipia
Grazing Task Force (LGTF),
and in accordance with the
existing policies developed by
the LGTF. OPCwill also look
after all capital assets provided
under this project;
• Space For Giants (SFG)
will provide management
oversight for the project and
be responsible for all necessary
monitoring and evaluation
works to facilitate effective and
timely management decisions
that are made in regards to
the upgrade of the fence,
maintenance and management
of associated threats from
people andwildlife;
• KWS will oversee the project
from a government stand
point and ensure effective
technical support is provided
for the removal of problematic
elephants;
• The Laikipia County Security
Committee will ensure that the
necessary securityprotocols are
in place to deal with those that
vandalise the fence
In the not too distant future,
the public, both local and
international, will be invited to
participate in the development of
fences within Laikipia through
various initiatives. The Laikpia
HEC taskForcewill bepublishing
regular updates in the Forum
Focus for public awareness.
1 2,3,4,5,6,7,8
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