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Science based environmental monitoring to end human wildlife conflict

Climate researchers are banking on science based detection of diminishing pasture to map out human wildlife conflict hotspots and develop mitigating strategies to check such conflicts in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHC).

According to IGAD Climate Prediction & Applications Centre (ICPAC) Program Manager, Zachary Atheru , the science based environmental management will assist identify human wildlife conflicts.

“When there is no pasture you tend to see animals leaving the protected areas and going to areas where there is farming causing human wildlife conflict arises,” Atheru observed.

He said that competition of resources led to encroachment to protected areas adding that if such activities are monitored this information can be used for policy making so that the situation is arrested before eruption of human wildlife conflicts.

Speaking on Thursday during the kick off seminar of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme in East Africa, Atheru said nobility lay in early detection of the situation and early warning so that critical decisions can be made.

“The problem is that the conflicts are periodic and depends on the season since some places are drier than others, the situation normally occurs during the dry season forcing the animals to go out to look for pasture and thus the need to have a detailed early warning especially for the hotspot areas,” he explained.

He said the information will be availed to decision makers to help in the sustainable long term management of natural resources as well as raising awareness to of this information.

“Today we are launching GMES and Africa project funded by African union Commission which is aimed at using Earth observation information for decision making, monitoring and management of environmental resources in our region,” he outlined.

Atheru said that the aim of the project is to collect views and needs from the users of the information so that they can develop services for monitoring rangeland and assessment of food and forest security.

“The problem in Africa is poor leadership because all the information is availed by the experts but it is not implemented and not used in decision making,” he lamented.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Forest Programme Coordinator, Jane Wamboi said information gathered under this project will assist develop strategies to reduce the impact of human wildlife conflict.

“The project will be using technology to predict the areas of human wildlife conflict and it is through this information that we will be able to monitor vegetation, fire mapping and analyzing the land use in the adjacent areas which will help us in predicting human wildlife conflict hotspots and come up with measures to counter it,” said Wamboi.

“KWS has come to a point where this information needs to be disseminated to the protected areas so that once each park manager gets hold of what is happening in their vicinity and implement the intervention strategies we will have minimal human wildlife conflicts,” explained Wamboi.

Source: Mkarimu Media and KNA News Agency