NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Tuesday launched
a national census to determine the number of lions and hyenas in
its national parks and conservancies.
acting KWS director general, said the study has been
necessitated due to rapid changes in conservation landscapes
that include infrastructure development, land-use changes and
rapid human population change.
“We determine to
fast track the survey and ensure that the information generated
is used in formulating the new lion and spotted hyena recovery
and action plan,” Musyoki said during a conference on carnivore
conservation in a changing landscape.
Musyoki noted that
the status and numbers of carnivores in most parts of Kenya is
unknown, mostly due to the absence of long term research
interactions increase, so do human-carnivore conflicts,
resulting in reductions in carnivore numbers through killing -
poisoning, trapping and shooting, and lack of support for
carnivore’s conservation among local communities,” he added.
He said that the
national lion survey is also expected to give density estimates
for other small carnivores.
The KWS official
revealed that the survey that is being conducted in
collaboration with conservation partners is done using Bayesian
spatially explicit capture-recapture.
“This is a new
method that we have adopted for use to survey lions and other
carnivores in Kenya after piloting it in Lake Nakuru National
Park and Maasai Mara Ecosystem,” he Musyoki said.
He observed that KWS
will continue to work with partners and communities to secure
more space for carnivores under the changing landscape.
Experts say conflict
caused by large carnivores has raised perception of large
numbers of large carnivores in the ecosystem.
According to the
wildlife body, there are about 2,000 lions, between 2,000-4,000
spotted hyenas, 1,160 cheetahs and 845 wild dogs.
Musyoki also said
that KWS, communities and conservation partners are in the
process of reviewing the lion and spotted hyena recovery and
“The new recovery
and action plan will guide the conservation and management of
the lions and spotted hyenas in the next five years,” he added.
He said that KWS has
put in place various mitigation measures to minimize the
conflicts from establishment of predator proof fences,
development of education and awareness programs and working with
partners to implement consolation programs.
Musyoki noted that
carnivores play a key role of regulating population of ungulates
in the ecosystems.
conference is being attended by carnivore scientists, community
members and conservation partners to share research findings
that will help Kenya achieve her vision to secure viable and
ecologically functional carnivore populations.