Kenya to curb effect of climate change on wildlife

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Kenyan scholars, scientists and policymakers formulated a plan here Thursday to cope with the adverse effects of climate change on the country's national parks.

The National Wildlife Climate Change Adaption Strategy is aimed at preparing wildlife resource managers to be proactive in adapting to the changing climate and preserving valuable resources for posterity, according to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

"Such adaptation actions are fundamental towards sustaining Kenya's ecosystems and wildlife resources as well as the livelihoods and values that the wildlife provides," Dr. Samuel Kasiki, KWS deputy director in charge of biodiversity, research and monitoring, said.

Kenya is facing climate change-induced challenges, such as variation in weather patterns, unpredictable water levels in lakes and rivers, frequent and prolonged droughts and floods, and other environmental disasters.

The country's wildlife and tourism sectors, which are major contributors to the nation's economy, remain vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Human activity is another threat to wildlife. In the past two years, elephant poaching has increased noticeably.

Dr. Erustus Kanga, KWS assistant director for ecosystems conservation and management, said Kenya had suffered greatly from climate change, including "loss of wildlife as a result of prolonged drought, increased cases of human-wildlife conflict due to changes in wildlife migratory patterns and 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 KWS has proposed wildlife management interventions such as reduced human activity in game parks, maintaining high water levels, reducing pollution, controlling exotic vegetation, and protecting wetland diversity.

The East African nation has already been involved in many initiatives, such as training staff on climate change adaption and mitigation strategies and general ecosystem management initiatives.

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