8 March 2016

Africa: Kenyan Wildlife Organization Finds Innovative Solutions to Human-Wildlife Conflict

Laikipia — A Kenyan wildlife conservancy organization said on Monday it has opened a new corridor which will enable wildlife species cross a main government road safely without bringing risks to local communities.

The organization, Ol Jogi Ranch which comprises a total size of 58,000 acres is located in northwestern Kenya's Laikipia County, 225km out of the capital Nairobi.

It is home to black and white rhinos, elephants, big cats, wild dogs, Grevy's zebras and many species of antelopes.

A statement from Ol Jogi said the new corridor aims to reduce human-wildlife conflict and to give wildlife species easier access to the greater Laikipia ecosystem.

"The Ol Jogi wildlife team is still monitoring wildlife movements to evaluate the usage and effectiveness of the corridor, but early signs indicate it will be a huge success," the statement added.

According to the organization, the increase of wildlife population and the expansion of human settlement aggravate human-wildlife conflicts in Laikipia County.

"Expanding human activity poses a major challenge for wildlife, especially migratory species such as elephants, as more of their ancient migration routes become severed, their conflict with human beings is on the rise," Ol Jogi said.

On the other hand, the orgnization added, "Farmers risk losing their entire season's income if elephants break into their crop fields, and rural children frequently bump into dangerous animals on their way to school."

Ol Jogi said it has been experimenting innovative and strategic solutions to mitigate conflicts that may arise from wildlife crossing farmlands and government roads.

One of the solutions is to build strategic cattle grids which stop wildlife wandering up and down the main road, encouraging them to simply cross straight from one side to another

Another innovative design is to set up short stone walls which prevent endangered rhinos from going through as rhinos possess a unique psychological trait that makes low stone walls look impassable.

In 2011, Ol Jogi opened two corridors in the Pyramid Fence, allowing wildlife to migrate in and out for the first time since 1980.



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