Human-Carnivore conflict threat to African Carnivore
Wildlife-human interaction has led to increased conflict leading to loss of lives and injuries of many people in Kenya, participants at the ongoing annual Carnivore conference heard.
Speaking during the annual carnivore conference held in Nairobi on Tuesday, Kenya Wildlife Service director general Charles Musyoki said as a result of this, the KWS has put in place various mitigation measures to minimize the conflicts from the establishment of predator fences, creating awareness programs.
“But these have not reduced the loss of an enormous number of livestock even humans,” he noted.
According to Musyoki, lions have emerged as one of the leading animals involved in the Human-Wildlife conflict. For example between 2017 and January 2018, there were 28 cases reported involving lion predation in Sericho area.
In eastern Kenya, for example, the problem seem to be quite severe with lions reported in some community areas where lions have not been seen before.
KWS has confirmed having got the information about the predator attacks and working towards upgrading fences within fenced protected areas such as Nairobi and Nakuru National Park.
The other solutions that have been employed include capturing and translocation of lions into expansive parks, deploying rangers to keep scaring off the lions, compensation to the victims and also community sensitization.
Different stakeholders and various conservation partners present at the conference recommended that translocation of trouble lions into the park should be avoided especially for those who are outside the visibility of the park.
They also emphasized the need of all Trans-located problems animals to be collared to enable monitoring.
They said the collars need to be linked to the satellite since the existing GSM network coverage are poor.
According to research and study on Trans-located lions and resident lions in the Meru ecosystem, the outcome age and sex is being used as a determining factor in deciding future translocations.
According to Mr Musyoki, KWS is working with communities and conservation partners to review the lion and spotted hyena recovery and action plan.
The new recovery plan aims at guiding the conservation management of the lions and spotted hyenas in the next five years.
He also added that they are undertaking a national survey of lions and other carnivores using Bayesian Spatially explicit capture-recapture method.
This method adopted by the KWS is set to survey lions and other carnivores in Kenya after carrying it out in Lake Nakuru National Park and Maasai Mara ecosystem.
Rabies Canine Distemper Virus was also noted as the emerging bigger threat to carnivores. The infectious disease first outbreak in East Africa was in Mara Serengeti in 1994. It is was confirmed in Laikipia Dol Dol in July 2017. The species affected are lions, hyenas and leopards. It also affects a broad range of terrestrial and aquatic animals. The disease outbreaks it in wild dog and domestic carnivores in Laikipia ecosystem of Kenya. However, canine distemper tests do exist, but the results alone are not always reliable.
Dr. Matthew Mutinda who is a veterinarian said, “the Canine distemper virus affects a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal respiratory and central nervous systems as well as conjunctiva membrane of the eye.”
He went ahead to explain that the virus is spread through direct contact with fresh urine, blood, saliva, sneezing, coughing and sharing of food and water bowls.
He also emphasized the need for urgent public awareness and also for all domestic dogs to be vaccinated.