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CONSERVATION INACTION
February2016 IssueNo. 5
A
frica’s vultures are
underdire threatmainly
due to poisoning and
other humanactivities. InOctober
2015, four species of African
vultures were declared critically
endangered, and two species
were up listed to endangered on
the IUCNRed List of Threatened
Species; the global indicator of a
specieswell-being.
This means that the most
commonly occurring vultures
in Laikipia namely; the White-
backed andRüppell’s vultures, are
at high risk of global extinction.
Also facing extinction are the
critically endangered Hooded
Vultures, and the Endangered
Lappet-faced Vultures. To date,
there are three species that are
only rarely seen in the wild in
Laikipia: The Bearded Vulture
(or Lammergeier) that formerly
nested on the Loldaigas; the
White-headed Vulture whose
former abundance in Laikipia is
not well known; and the Egyptian
Vulture that still thrivedwithin the
landscape until approximately 15-
20 years ago, when their decline
started to become apparent.
Today poisoning is the greatest
threat to vultures worldwide, and
the birds residing in Laikipia face
the same threat. The poisoning
of predators like lions and hyenas
in retaliation for livestock loss
is a huge challenge, and it is
undoubtedly the biggest threat to
Laikipia’s scavengers.
Sadly, earlier this year, vultures
in Laikipia faced two separate
poisoning incidents. The first
took place at ADCMutara on 6
th
January and occurred after lions
killed four cows. In retaliation
to this, herders laced three of the
carcasseswithanunknownpoison.
The result was the gruesome
death of at least 32White-backed
and Rüppell’s vultures, and one
Tawny Eagle. Two cows were
also poisoned after grazing on
grass contaminated by the vomit
and faeces of the dying vultures.
While the loss of livestock to
predators is a serious issue for
pastoralists, the indiscriminate use
poisons is clearly not the answer.
Poisoningof vultures
stirsupquestions forwildlife regulations
The second incident occurred
days later on Narok Ranch where
two vultures, two Tawny Eagles,
andone jackalwerepoisoned after
a predator attacked a cow and a
sheep.
“As a scientist, I can only
speak with alarm when the small
tracking devices we use to study
themovementsof vulturesout lives
the birds themselves. Vultures
can live for many years and are
slow reproducing birds. Ideally,
they should live between 20 and
30 years, however most that I’ve
tracked wandering widely in
Laikipia, Samburu, and Marsabit
Counties are lucky to survive
even one year. For a group of
species that typically lays only
one egg, every other year, this
situation can only result in the
drastic decline of Kenya’s resident
vultures, affecting their long-term
survival”
says Darcy Ogada from
thePeregrineFund.
It is however not too late to put
in place measures that can help
save these birds that play a vital
role in the ecosystem. Efforts
have already begun throughout
Kenya and will progress in 2016
and beyond. Rangers and field
scouts are already going through
training that will allow them
detect incidents of poisoning and
empower them to deal with the
situation.
We are also seeking creative
ways to finance a vulture
restaurant, or feeding station,
which could provide ‘safe’ food
for vultures.
As we work to improve the
situation for these amazing
birds,we are asking the public to
please get in touch if they have
sighted or have any old stories
about Bearded, White-headed or
Egyptian vultures anywhere in
Kenya. We are also interested
in knowing about the breeding
locationsof any speciesof vultures
in Kenya. Finally, please report
any poisoning incidences to KWS
and to us”
concludesMs. Ogada.
formor information visit
www.
peregrinefund.org
I
narareandwelcomedmove,
the Board Chair of KWS,
Dr. RichardLeakey, and his
respective boardmembers, hosted
a two-day open house meeting on
21st and 22nd January 2016, to
discuss over 20 regulations that
have been designed to interpret
the Wildlife Conservation and
Management Act with the aim of
putting it into action. Dr. Leakey
set the stage for open and honest
discussions saying;
“some of these
regulations are
punitive and
confusing, let’s get
them sorted out.”
Withmore than 40 participants
drawn from the private sector,
conservation groups, research
KWSboardhosts
discussionsonwildlife regulations
institutions andKWS, Dr. Leakey,
invited forthright discussions of
what works and what doesn’t
work in the new draft regulations.
Ensuring there would be no
“acrimony or
recrimination
for being outspoken on the Act
and its regulations, Dr. Leakey
chaired the two day event, while
drafting consultants took note of
public inputs. LWF was actively
represented for these discussions.
The two days focused on a
range of topics including wildlife
research, access, incentives and
benefit sharing aswell as activities
in protected areas. The group
also addressed Bio-Prospecting,
Community Participation, and
the
Wildlife
Compensation
Regulation. The full list of draft
regulations in their present state
can be obtained from the LWF
website -
under
the “resources” tab. 
Perhaps of biggest concern
to LWF members will be the
final regulations governing the
Establishment of Conservancies;
Access, Incentives and Benefit
Sharing; and the Wildlife
CompensationRegulations.Under
the Act’s definition of protected
area, conservancies will be
included, and thus conservancies
of all types have a vested interest
in these regulations. LWF and the
Kenya Wildlife Conservancies
Association (among others) are
monitoring these developments
carefully. 
The public can expect the
next draft of regulations out in
the next two months that will
incorporate the feedback from
these discussions. LWF and the
KWS Board will remain actively
engaged in creating a more
“enabling environment” for all
aspects of wildlife conservation
in Kenya, and will be keeping
the public informed of these
developments. 
Dr.RichardLeakey,KWSChairaddresses theopenhousemeetings in
January
PoisonedanddyingRueppells VultureADCMutara7Jan2016.
PhotoJWahome
PoisonedWhite-backedandRueppell’svulturesADCMutara7Jan2016
PhotoJWahome
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