Kenya is a naturally stunning region that is incredibly diverse, with deserts and wetlands as well as huge closed canopy forests. Each of these different habitats holds thousands of species of plants, though most people only think of the wide range of animals that live here with the most commonly known being lions and elephants. Environmental conservation efforts are very important to protecting these species for future generations.
Since gaining independence in 1963, Kenya has been focusing its efforts on improving the economic position and in more recent years they have been making a big push to develop in a sustainable way. The end goal is to raise Kenya to have a middle ground economy and help people gain opportunities to better themselves. With this in mind, a solid conservation plan is being put in motion to help to relieve poverty and promote sustainable farming and businesses that won’t come at the cost of the beautiful environment Kenya has.
The Morani Preserve located in Laikipia, Kenya, is working to create a safe home for all animals to live in, as well as educating local people on how to live alongside the animals and ease any conflicts that may occur. With the backing provided by XPO² they plan to get several other conservation groups involved in making this region even better.
Protecting the Land
Kenya has a huge agricultural workforce, but despite this, most of the land within Kenya is unsuitable for growing crops with the land being arid, or semi-arid. Many farmers put their focus on livestock and will search for suitable grassland for their animals to graze on. Without any education, they will often overwork the land, leading to more land becoming unsuitable for crops. With livestock the grassland is overgrazed, making it unsuitable for both domesticated and wild animal.
The first step to help protect the land from being overworked is not to stop people from farming, but to educate. By teaching them how to manage their farms correctly, the farmers can prevent the fertile top soil from being washed away. It’s incredibly important to teach those with livestock the importance of not overworking and help them learn when to move their animals from one site to another to give the land time to recover.
Environmental conservation requires communities to come together and reach towards shared goals.
Kenya has established preservation zones that house different tribes. The Morani Preserve is ran by the local Samburu tribe, a tribe of nomadic cattle farmers. Their extensive knowledge and understanding of the land they live on is extremely beneficial to the success of conservation for both the land and the animals.
With drought plaguing this region, food and water shortages are growing more common for all. The rising temperatures are leading to less rainfall forcing water dependent wildlife to wander for miles in search of a source of water which often takes them across farmland. Educating farmers helps prevent disagreements and encourages farmers to allow access routes for wild animals so they can continue to thrive through these difficult periods.
For predators, they may turn their attention to livestock, leading to conflicts between human and animal that more often than not, the animal will lose.
With a surge in animal poaching and black market demands for Ivory and animal skins, it is a worldwide effort to educate and teach people on how this market is bad, and how it is endangering many different species of animals. Environmental conservation efforts are threatened by malicious illegal activities like poaching.
As Kenya makes attempts to better its own infrastructure with new railways and roads, it also cuts into migration paths of animals such as the elephant. Many animals find themselves trapped, and in desperate attempts to get to the areas they like, they’ll endanger their own lives and have been hit by trains or other large vehicles in attempts to cross.
Some of the newer railway lines are built high, elevated above the ground. This is still cut off in some places, but there is action taking place to provide passages for the animals to freely cross through, of course some take to these passages easily but for others it will take time.
Protecting the People
It’s just as important to look after the people. It is those in poverty that are more likely to live in the dryer and harsher lands. Without support and funding, they are trapped within a cycle of poverty due to poor land, unsafe water and a lack of opportunities to break out of the cycle.
The solution is education for all ages and a full support network to aid them when things get tough.
Ecotourism is hoping to become a major source of income for many who live outside of the cities. Living in a land that has so much natural beauty to offer is an amazing resource in itself that shouldn’t be squandered or destroyed.
Ecotourism offers a sustainable way for visitors to see the country and become involved with communities without exploiting the country. For many who live in tribes or small communities, being able to sell their handcrafted wares provides an important source of income.
A Country on the Rise
Kenya is making all the right steps to slowly and surely bring itself forward in the world. But it still needs help to help maintain the balance between progress and protecting the natural world. With your help, environmental conservation can become a global value and source of inspiration for all of humanity.
The Morani Preserve want to help with the environmental side of things, by protecting the animals and helping to encourage sustainable and positive tourism.
XPO² will be walking alongside them to give them all the assistance they need with the contribution provided by our wonderful backers!