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.Africa News Kenya Focus 

March 15 - 21, 2013

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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Kenya Wildlife Service to spear-
head conservation of primates

the East African nation has at least 19 species
and 24 sub- species of primates and harbours
some of the world’s most threatened species
 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said Thursday it has formed a taskforce to spearhead conservation of primates which have been pushed into isolated areas of suitable habitat, thus curtailing their chances of survival.

KWS said National Primate Conservation Task Force (NPCTF) will be tasked with raising the profile of primates through better awareness and public relations and help resolve conflicts and change people’s attitudes about primates.

“All members of the task force contribute a range of knowledge and expertise, and we are very excited about working together and moving forward,” KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi .

The East African nation has at least 19 species and 24 sub- species of primates and harbours some of the world’s most threatened species.

The most threatened species are the Tana River Red Colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) and the Tana River Mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus), both endemic to the forests of lower Tana River .

According to the wildlife agency, habitat degradation, loss and fragmentation are the major threats to the primates in the East African nation.

The taskforce will advise KWS on primate conservation matters, including priorities for critical conservation actions for primates in a structured and participatory way.

The body will integrate primate conservation, review primate research activities and advise on research and monitoring programs. This includes collating existing information to create databases on each primate species.

KWS said climate changes have further complicated the threats facing primates, adding that the weather patterns have become unpredictable, resulting in changes in food resources.

“This eventually affects the population status and habitat carrying capacity, thus further threatening the primates,” KWS said, noting that despite these challenges facing primates of Kenya , the country lacks primate conservation and management strategies.

It said expert advice had been sought and resulted in the formation of a panel to advise, help develop and drive the strategy forward.

The taskforce will develop policy options for conservation and management of primates and steer the formulation of national conservation strategies that will ensure the long-term survival of healthy populations of primates and their habitats.

The task force which has commenced its work has discussed key features of the conservation strategies and management guidelines such as primate pest management and national primate diversity and national listing of primate species.

KWS said the envisaged strategies will provide national guidance on the conservation of threatened primates and management of relatively abundant primate species that are sometimes problem animals.

Kenya clearly has a large role to play in primate conservation Africa-wide, given that it is home to two endemic and threatened primate taxa as well as to a large number of other, less threatened primate taxa.

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