Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Kenya has confirmed reports that the world’s largest wildlife sanctuary there, faces a bleak future for the national economy and the work of conservationists.
A Kenyan scientist in Germany had sounded the alarm in August 2018 over declining wildlife populations in the country’s game-dominated tourism sector which he blamed on human-wildlife conflicts and climate change.
Dr Joseph Ogutu, a senior statistician in the Bioinformatics unit of the University of Hohenheim in Germany, revealed that the Thomson’s gazelle, warthog and oryx were among other wildlife that were under severe threat with a record decline of more than 70 percent.
The latest edition of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said the wildebeest, which undertakes the famous migration at the popular Maasai Maara every year, have had their population cut by 12,000 to 228,000 in 2016.
As recently as in 2013, there were 276,000 of these wildebeest on record.
As a direct consequence of the sharp decline in wildlife population, leading animal parks and inns around the sanctuaries recorded the sharpest decline in visitors during the period under review, the report said.
Concerning the consequence on the economy, the for instance explained that in 2017, a slim 2.3 million visitors entered the various national parks and game reserves with the Nairobi mini orphanage hosting the highest number at 367,671 down from 390,385 in 2016.
The reports said the populations of elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and ostriches have declined rapidly in recent months.
The 2,000 reduction in number of elephants recorded in the year reverses a growth trend observed after 2015 when their population climbed 6,200 to hit the 22,000 in 2016, the sources said.
Also recording a steep drop, were the Grant’s gazelle whose population fell to 106,500 from 112,100 in 2016. They have been experiencing a gradual increase since 2013 when the numbered 111,700, according to official data.
The zebras’ worrisome decline registered 5,500 Burchell’s zebra dying and another 300 deaths of the Gravy’s Zebra recorded during the period under review.
Close to 3,000 impala died while the population of Thomson’s gazelles dropped by 2,100.
There were 1,500 less ostrich among the sampled animals, the report concluded.
© Bur-csa – N.W / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_eng