Written by Henry Neondo
Kenya has started the process of developing the country’s first ever National Wildlife Climate Change Adaption Strategy. The process is spearheaded by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in conjunction with the Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG) and other stakeholders.
The strategy is aimed at inspiring and enabling wildlife resource managers and other decision makers to take the much-needed actions in order to adapt to the changing climate and preserve the precious wildlife resource for posterity.
Such adaptation actions are fundamental towards sustaining Kenya’s ecosystems and wildlife resources as well as the livelihoods and values that the wildlife provides.
Speaking while opening the National Wildlife Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Inception workshop in Nanyuki, the KWS Deputy Director in charge of Biodiversity, Research and Monitoring Dr. Samuel Kasiki said apart from poaching, climate change is another silent threat to Kenya’s wildlife.
The workshop, which brought together wildlife and tourism stakeholders, university scholars, conservation scientists and key policy makers from across the country discussed the impacts of climate change to the country’s wildlife and the various ways of mitigating the adverse effects brought about by them.
In emphasizing the importance of the Strategy, the KWS Assistant Director for Ecosystems Conservation and Management Dr. Erustus Kanga, pointed out that over the years, Kenya has suffered greatly from the effects of climate change, These include loss of wildlife as a result of prolonged drought, increased cases of human wildlife conflict due to change in wildlife migratory patterns and change in home ranges, increased wildfires and invasive species as well as extreme weather patterns and events that have negatively impacted on the country’s infrastructure.
The workshop will outline specific goals and objectives that will pave way for the formulation of a clear action plan which is fundamental towards the realization and successful implementation of the National Wildlife Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
Already, the country has in place the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) and a National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) all aimed at combating the effects of climate change in Kenya.
However, the development of the National Wildlife Climate Change Adaption Strategy comes at a critical time when climate change is a reality in Kenya as depicted by variation in weather patterns, unpredictable levels of water in lakes and rivers, frequent and prolonged occurrence of droughts and floods, and other environmental disasters.
These occurrences have adverse impacts on the Kenyan economy and livelihoods that largely depends on natural resources such as water, land, plants and animals. The country’s wildlife and tourism sectors, which support a large proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), remain vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The successful implementation of the strategy will go a long way towards addressing some of these challenges as the country continues to strive towards saving the last great species and places on earth for humanity.