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Enhancing Habitat Connectivity for Biodiversity Conservation

Enhancing indigenous forest connectivity in the Taita Hills for biodiversity conservation.

The programme has been ongoing for a number of years now. The Technical Advisor, Mr. James Mwang’ombe Mwamodenyi, is among the crafters of the conceptual framework while working with The East African Wild Life Society and continued with the same when he took over as the Executive Coordinator in 2007. The programmes goal is to conserve the endemic birds in Taita hills among other organisms. This is to be achieved by enhancing indigenous forest connectivity across the Taita hills landscape that will enhance dispersal of individuals among the forest patches. This is being undertaken through planting of indigenous trees in the forest reserves and on the farms surrounding the patches. The activity is guided by a model – the Least-Cost Forest Connectivity Model of Taita Hills. To date, this programme has received support from the following;

  1. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund,
  2. National Geographic Trust Fund,
  3. The Rufford Small Grants,
  4. The Kenya Forest Service,
  5. Community Development Trust Fund – Community Environment Facility.
  6. The DARWIN INITIATIVE – The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Maintaining the Wildlife dispersal and corridor areas for wildlife conservation and livelihood support

This programme targets the rangelands around the Tsavo National Park within the Taita Taveta County. These rangelands that are currently utilised as ranches (occupying >24% of the County area) and some settled with subsistence rainfed agriculture form important dispersal and corridor areas for animals in the park – particularly the large mammals such as elephants, buffaloes and others.

These areas are currently experiencing pressure due to overgrazing, poaching, tree cutting for fuelwood and charcoal production, mining and others. As a result, the area is fast degrading and also blocking of some of the corridors is taking place due to development. The goal of this programme is to ensure these dispersal areas and corridors remain open through the following;

  1. Building the capacity of the ranch management (boards and secretariats) in range management, conservation, and business skills among others,
  2. Diversifying the enterprises on the land to include friendly activities such as eco-tourism,
  3. Enhance partnerships among the ranches and with external institutions for maximising benefits and management.

This programme is yet to receive any external support so far.

Enabling the poor-of-the-poor break from the poverty cycle exacerbated by the “human-wildlife conflict” around the Tsavo National Park in Taita Taveta County.

This project is aimed at reducing the impact human-wildlife conflict (hwc) on the affected households in the county. Taita Taveta County is one of the wildlife areas with the highest hwc in the country. Research undertaken in the area indicates that hwc contributes significantly to poverty in these areas through loss of breadwinners through death or injury, predation and crop loss. This project aims at reducing the impact of hwc through training on skills that will assist the beneficiaries engage either in gainful employment or enterprises not prone to hwc.

This project will be implemented together with the Coast Institute of Technology – Voi. It has been submitted to the Safaricom Foundation and inquiries are being undertaken to identify potential donors.