Kenyan lobby urge action to stem loss of vultures through poisoning

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NAIROBI, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenya should take robust measures to curb widespread poisoning of vultures and other predators as a result of retaliation by herders aggrieved by the loss of their livestock, a lobby group said on Thursday.

The Laikipia Farmers Association (LFA), a conservation lobby based in northern Kenya said that strong legislation combined with community-based awareness is key to minimize the death of vultures through poisoning.

"The ruinous repercussions of poisoning predators have led to a steep decline in vulture populations over the last decade, to the point where they are now considered to be critically endangered," LFA said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Wednesday reported the death of 18 vultures in Laikipia County as a result of feasting on camel carcass that had been poisoned after being preyed on by a lion.

The wildlife agency said the owner of the two camels that were attacked by a lion had been arrested over the poisoning of 11 rufous vultures, seven tawny eagles and one silver jackal that happens to be endangered species.

"Samples from the vultures are with the government chemist for analysis while the carcasses have been disposed of to prevent the potential spread of the disease," said Paul Udoto, KWS spokesperson.

He said that KWS had partnered with local administration and Directorate of Criminal Investigations to determine the source of the poison.

Conservation groups said the government should come up with innovative measures to reduce human-wildlife conflict that was partly to blame for the rising incidents of vulture poisoning.

"We urgently need additional solutions to stem human-wildlife conflict in this country if critically endangered vultures and other scavengers are going to survive," said Darcy Ogada, assistant director of Africa Programs at the Peregrine Fund.

She said that a healthy working relationship between managers of wildlife conservancies and nomadic communities is key to minimize hostility towards iconic carnivores and predators. Enditem

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