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NASC 1001 - Environmental Science
Kenya’s Wildlife biodiversity provides the base for the tourism industry, research and education.
The country’s wildlife is found in an area of 4,403,595 hectares (about 8% of land area), gazetted
by the government for wildlife conservation. There are l4 marine national parks, 6 marine national
reserves, 23 terrestrial national parks, 26 terrestrial national reserves and 5 national sanctuaries
representing key ecosystems in the country and home to 30% of total wildlife. The rest are found
outside these protected areas where wildlife conservation is designated as the principal land use
system. These include 17 community sanctuaries and private conservancies. The major concern in
wildlife is the rapid decline in population, both in and outside protected areas. Since 1977, the
country has lost 60-70% of large wildlife and the annual decline of wildlife is currently estimated at
3% with some species like rhinos, the Hirola antelopes, and the dugongs being endangered (Okello
et al., 2005).
A wildlife migratory corridor is considered functional when it maintains habitat connectivity and
allows genetic interchange to occur (Foreman et al., 2003). A wildlife corridor is functioning over a
longer period of time when wildlife species fitness is ensured (genetic exchange, no genetic drift, no
skewed sex ratios) and when normal ecological processes are occurring. Therefore conservation of
wildlife dispersal areas includes protecting large habitat reserves and smaller interconnected
protected areas with minimal land demarcation and using planning policies to protect and conserve
wildlife breeding, foraging and hunting areas (Hunter, 1999)
Changing land use and Land tenure system in Rimoi ecosystem is a threat to wildlife habitat
management. This has led to wildlife habitat fragmentation. So far the connectivity is considered an
immediate need for isolated Protected Areas like Rimoi game reserve for conservation and
restoration of wildlife habitats. In general, corridors are the linking passage or avenues along which
long wide ranging animals can move safely and feel safely, plants can propagate, genetic
interchange, population can move in response to environmental changes and natural disasters, and
threatened species can be replenished from other areas (American Wildlands, 2001). Holistically,
Corridors are those landscapes, which act as alternative habitats and movement of migratory fauna
and also help in maintaining the territory. In the recent years, wildlife corridor mapping has
emerged as a new technique that helps to identify corridor and connectivity between two-isolated
habitats. Therefore, it is imperative to identify potential linkages in Rimoi location between two or
more isolated habitats. In this exercise GIS mapping tool was applied in gathering a wide range of
ground information including vegetation types and their distribution patterns.
Rimoi National Reserve (RNR), a protected area was gazette on 26
February, 1983 formerly
known as Kerio Valley Game Reserve. During this time of gazettment, the reserve was a heaven
for wild animals with healthy wildlife habitats. Currently, the reserve is showing signs of
deterioration and human developments are forever encroaching on the remaining areas of the
wilderness. Wild animals have been extirpated and there is an influx of domestic livestock, while
honey and sand harvesting in the reserve is an important source of livelihood for the community
members. With these developments, it has become necessary to a second thought about the wisdom
of unsustainable development which has led to a decrease in the quality of protected areas like
Rimoi national Reserve. The planning intervention mechanism and policies in terms of integrating
conservation and development through linking of RNR to the surrounding communal areas should
be a priority both for wildlife conservation and community livelihoods.
An important component in addressing human impact on the wildlife migratory corridors and
dispersal areas is the development of sustainable livelihoods for people living adjacent to RNR so
that the community does not become isolated from the wildlife conservation. This can only be
addressed as a form of land use that can be integrated with other forms thereby forming multiple
resource use areas for both the community and wildlife. Rimoi National Reserve (RNR) would only
change then from a simple decay fenced-off protected area to include land that is used for variety of
purposes and that the reserve may not be fenced
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