KWS conducts Great Northern Kenya wildlife aerial count

Written By: Claire Wanja
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Aerial count of Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffe and Grevy's zebra in Laikipia - Samburu - Meru - Marsabit ecosystem, set for the next two weeks starting on 20th November,2017

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) will be spearheading an aerial survey of Elephants, Buffaloes, Grevy’s Zebras and Giraffe in the greater northern landscape of Kenya.

This is in collaboration with other wildlife conservation and management stakeholders.

The exercise will be conducted from 19th to 30th November 2017 and will cover the Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit and Meru ecosystems.

Alongside the four KWS aircrafts assigned to the survey, other organizations donating aircrafts are Save the Elephants, Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing, Loisaba Conservancy, and Marwell Wildlife.  Several private operators are also donating their aircrafts and time to participate in the survey.

This year’s aerial survey will focus on these four charismatic and endangered species in an effort to establish their total numbers and distribution. The data collected will then be compared with that from past aerial surveys to discern the species trends.

Comparing the information helps to evaluate the success of the Kenya’s species conservation efforts and provides information on where to concentrate future conservation resources.

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In addition, data on livestock and human activities (settlements, farms and logging) and water points will also be collected and recorded to help explain the trends in number and distribution of the species over the years.

This year’s survey is supported by different conservation organizations of this great landscape.

The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count includes an area of about 65,000 square kilometers and it will take 7 full days to cover using 14 aircraft.

This area is among Kenya’s great wildlife conservation areas. Wildlife survives here because of the goodwill of its residents, including land use that supports or tolerates wildlife.

USAID is providing funding support through a grant to KWS. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Born Free Foundation are also providing financial support to this exercise.

Many organizations, Conservancies and individuals including Mpala Research Centre, Space for Giants, Northern Rangeland Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Mount Kenya Trust, Losaba Conservancy, and Laikipia Wildlife Forum are volunteering their time and expertise to make this year’s survey a success.

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