NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Wildlife conservationists were late in raising their objections to the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) according to ecologist Steve Njumbi.
Njumbi, who is the Head of Programmes at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) expressed concerns over the manner in which wildlife advocacy groups have carried out their mandate in the past, often distancing themselves from auditing development plans during the conceptualisation stage, only for them to raise concerns when the projects are being implemented.
“We were late when we came to speak about the SGR,” he said. “In project cycle there’s the conceptualisation of an idea where consultations with stakeholders are done before planning, funding and finally implementation.”
According to Njumbi, conservationists need to adopt a more proactive approach in the planning of developments so as to point out aspects that may endanger wildlife well ahead of time before funding for such projects is secured and the implementation process kicks off.
“We detected the SGR at the time of implementation and it is an uphill task to stop developments projects at this stage.”
“Let us (conservationists) get out of our comfort zones and go into policy and government offices where these ideas are being conceptualised and add on the agenda, get mitigation if not be able to stop such projects,” he added.
Njumbi said there was need for the country to come up with a master plan to ensure land use is coordinated in such a way that wildlife is not endangered.
“If we don’t allow our wildlife to have migratory corridors such as animals can move from one eco-system to another, our wildlife estate will collapse,” he warned.
He was speaking to Capital FM on Monday during the handing over ceremony of six collars and 18 monitoring cameras to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to check on the movement of lions in the Nairobi National Park.
Prior to the ceremony, KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi presided over the collaring of a lioness named Nyala at the park, bringing to six the number of lions banded so far.
KWS intends to collar an additional five lions, and install monitoring cameras in the park to further enhance lion monitoring within the park.