Tanzania, Kenya conduct joint buffaloes, elephants census
Wildlife conservation agencies in Kenya and Tanzania have rolled out a parallel coordinated aerial elephant and buffaloes census in Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks to establish their exact numbers.
The initiative in Kenya done by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), World Wide Fund and the Narok County government seeks to establish whether efforts in wildlife conservation had made impact, the Standard reported.
Kenya’s tourism sector almost wholly relies on wildlife and millions of tourists visit the country every year to traverse and sight see at national parks and game reserves.
KWS Assistant Director in charge of Ecological Monitoring Shadrack Ngene said the exercise covering 12,500 kilometres square would be done simultaneously in the two national parks to avoid double count. Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks border each other. Whereas Maasai Mara is allocated in Southern Kenya, Serengeti is found on the Northern part of Tanzania.
Ngene said the initiative would also help establish the impact of human-wildlife conflicts as a result of the wild life as well as human habitat distribution on the Mara side.
Elephants and Buffaloes fall under the big five family- a group of animals mostly sought by tourists.
Others in that family include the leopard, lion and giraffes.
The census comes at a time Kenya is engrossed in a massive tourism sector marketing campaign that targets at promoting the country as a key tourism destination.
The Kenya Tourism Board in the marketing drive mainly targets tourists from Europe and far-East Asian countries of India, China, South and North Korea among others.
Tourism sector stakeholders recently reported low tourist numbers at the Coast and hotel facilities within national parks a development they said was threatening the industry, the backbone of Coast region.
The numbers are, however, expected to rise courtesy of the high season that begins in July.