NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – The current drought situation has severely affected national parks and reserves in the country leading to degradation of the habitat.
The prolonged drought has led to famine for people and livestock as well as wildlife at the Meru National Park, a situation that has led to wildlife straying to farms in search of pasture and water.
In an interview with Capital FM News, Meru National Park Senior Warden Tuqa Jirmo said resources such as water and pasture are quickly dwindling, an indication of worse times ahead.
“The drought is severe and affecting the wildlife here at the Meru National Park and reserves; there is shortage of water, pasture,” said Jirmo.
Jirmo stated that the major challenge the parks is facing is the diversion of water sources by people for farm and personal use.
“Because of the drought, people have diverted water emanating from the parks for farm and personal use,” noted Jirmo, “We have embarked on sensitising the community on the need to equally share the available resources to avert human wildlife conflict.”
A report by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) shows that there is lack of enough pasture and water, dwindling household food stocks and human-wildlife conflicts.
“Due to inadequate pasture and browse in normal grazing areas, livestock are currently walking long distances to ranches and parks in search of pasture,” showed the report.
“As much as there is wildlife straying out of the park to farms in search for pasture, we have observed the same of livestock as herders bring them into parks, increasing competition for the scarce resources,” noted Jirmo.
“To mitigate the conflict, we have embarked on erecting fences in areas and farms prone to attacks by wildlife,” assured Jirmo.
Other parks and conservationists affected by the drought include the Tsavo conservation area.