France to donate Sh1bn in Marsabit park facelift plan
Posted Sunday, August 19 2012 at 15:33
Marsabit National Park is set for a Sh1.2 billion (11.91 million euros) facelift to boost sustainable use of natural resources and alleviate human-wildlife conflict.
France and the Government of Kenya will fund the initiative expected to begin next year.
The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and Kenya Forest Service will implement the project.
“The French Government is financing the project at a total amount of eight million euros (Sh1.04 billion) with an additional grant of 1.5 million euros (Sh156 million) from the French Global Environmental Facility,” said Edwin Wanyonyi, the KWS head of resource mobilisation.
“The Government of Kenya shall contribute 2,410,000 (Sh250 million) euros.”
Marsabit National Park hosts an endangered forest, which the neighbouring community relies on as a source of livelihood, water, fuel and timber.
The park comprises densely forested mountain and three crater lakes that are the only permanent source of water in the region and is a habitat for a variety of birdlife and wild animals.
“The project is expected to be approved by the minister of Finance any time now. Then Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and KWS will work on conditions of effectiveness provided by the French Development Agency,” Mr Wanyonyi told the Business Daily in an interview.
Major wildlife attractions in Marsabit Park include elephants, the endangered Grevy’s zebras, lions, leopards, buffaloes, bushbucks, kudus and Grant’s gazelle.
The park made history in 1970s when one of its elephant named Ahmed was provided with 24-hour security through a presidential decree to demonstrate Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation.
Its remains are still preserved in Kenya National Museum.
The completion of the Isiolo-Moyale highway is likely to expose the forest to an enormous pressure due to the expected growth in economic activities.
In recent weeks, there has been a rise in conflict between wildlife and communities surrounding the park.
Population pressure has forced people to encroach on the park and in some cases settlements have sprung up in the animal migration routes.
The facelift will improve management of the park and reduce human-wildlife contact. The forest is surrounded by arid and semi-arid areas, and it’s has been described as green oasis in a desert.