The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kws Set for Sh15 Million Wildlife Census

Kenya Wildlife Services is set to conduct a Sh15 million aerial count of wild animals in Laikipia, Samburu and Marsabit in two weeks time.

KWS senior scientist in charge of the mountain conservancy region James Mathenge said the six day count will begin at the Sarova Shaba National Reserve from November 25 to 30.

Speaking in Nyeri yesterday, Mathenge said 12 helicopters will be used during the census. The count will be undertaken by wildlife scientists, KWS rangers and volunteers.

Mathenge said the count, conducted every three years in all wildlife blocks in the country, is aimed at monitoring wildlife trends in population, movement and ecological spread.

He said the count targets mainly to record elephants and the gravy zebra, which are increasingly becoming endangered. "Issues such as drought, poaching and flooding affect wildlife population, movement and procreation. The count is necessary to determine their numbers and to find out those on the verge of extinction," Mathenge said.

Mathenge said the elephant population in Kenya has been on a steady increase with an estimated 35,000 currently. However, the rare gravy zebra is on a decline due to preying, Mathenge said. He said some of the endangered species may require being moved to protected areas to boost their numbers.

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