Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, today launched an elaborate Lion and spotted Hyena Recovery and Action Plan that will ran for the next ten years.
The plan, which runs from 2020 to 2030, aim is to sustain a viable population of lions and spotted hyenas in healthy ecosystems as a heritage for posterity.
Launching the plan in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Balala said, Lions and Hyenas play an important role in the food chain by controlling herbivore populations which if not regulated, would cause an increase in their competition amongst them and make some to go extinct, thus reducing biodiversity.
Balala added that, lions and hyenas prey on the weakest of the herd and this keeps the population of herd animals resilient and healthy.
“If lions and hyenas did not exist, there would be a symbiotic relationship between parasites and herd animals. This way, parasites could increase and spread throughout the herd, resulting in fewer healthy animals.” Balala explained.
The CS said, the plan was developed in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), and Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) guidelines, adding, that the planning process was participative, transparent and informed by the best available science.
Balala announced that currently, Kenya has a population of about 2,489 lions as compared to a 2018 estimate of about 1,970 lions.
Balala called on wananchi who come into conflicts with lions and hyenas not to take the law into their own hands by poisoning them, but instead report livestock predation by the two species to the authorities for processing of compensation claims.
The Cabinet Secretary stated that there will be no more construction of any new camps in all protected areas, be it a national park or a game reserve, without a prior direct permission from the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.
Such illegal constructions, like camps, have been known to destroy the ecosystem and will not be tolerated at all.
He called on all stakeholders in Maasai Mara game reserve to form a Maasai Mara Management Plan by August 31, 2020, in order to manage this rich natural heritage properly.
The Principal Secretary, State Department for Wildlife, Professor Fred Segor said the role of the two predators in the ecosystem was crucial. Therefore, their continued survival is important to the health of other wildlife species.
He further said that hyenas play an important role as ‘professional garbage collectors’, thereby, helping to clean the environment for the safety of other wildlife species and humans too.
Prof. Segor disclosed that the implementation plan was guided by a vision, goal and four broad pillars namely, Resilient ecosystems, Engagement of all stakeholders, Evidence-based decision making, and Sustainability and good governance.
Those who attended the launch included; the Governor of Narok County, Samuel Ole Tunai, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry IG (Rtd) Joseph Boinnet, Principal Secretary, Ministry of East African Co-operation, Dr. Kevit Desai, Director General of KWS, Brigadier (Rtd) John Waweru, KWS Board of Trustees Vice Chair, Betty Maitoyo among other conservationists.