Counties

KWS holds census of endangered wildlife in northern counties

Elephants in Imenti Forest, Merum on January 9, 2016. Kenya Wildlife Service will beginning this week conduct a census for endangered species in five counties in the great northern Kenya region. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Elephants in Imenti Forest, Merum on January 9, 2016. Kenya Wildlife Service will beginning this week conduct a census for endangered species in five counties in the great northern Kenya region. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Wildlife Service will beginning this week conduct a census for endangered species in five counties in the great northern Kenya region.

During the seven-day exercise to be conducted in Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit and Meru, KWS will count elephants, buffaloes, grevy’s zebras and giraffe.

The exercise will be conducted aerially using at least 14 aircrafts in a bit to establish the total count of the animals and their distribution.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, KWS said the exercise will help compare past census of the animals and study the trends of the various species.

“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,” read the statement.

12 conservancies

About 12 private conservancies will also take part in the exercise providing funding and research support to the KWS team.

“Several private operators are also donating their aircrafts and time to participate in the survey,” KWS said.

Besides KWS aircrafts assigned to the survey, other organisations donating aircrafts are Save the Elephants, Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing, Loisaba Conservancy, and Marwell Wildlife.

Mpala Research Centre, Space for Giants, Northern Rangeland Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Mount Kenya Trust, Losaba Conservancy, and Laikipia Wildlife Forum will also take part in the survey.

KWS spokesperson Paul Gathitu said the base of the operation will be at Sarova Shaba in Samburu and the Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation in Laikipia County.

Conservation methods

The exercise will be an evaluation of the Kenya’s efforts in conservation and give recommendation on future conservation methods.

It will cover an area of about 65,000 square kilometres.