7 September 2009
Nairobi — A wildlife conservationists and ranchers’ forum is protesting the presence of British troops on local ranches.
Laikipia Wildlife Forum has called for discussions, following complaints over increased incursions by the British army troops into local private ranches during their training.
The forum says the soldiers’ presence in the area could be detrimental to the fragile ecosystem that supports hundreds of wild animals and tourism.
In a note to all members, LWF’s Uaso Narok Community Liason Officer Dr Max Graham said the units, each comprising about 900 men had increased from three units in 2008 to seven this year and were allowed by individual ranchers to use their facility without consultation with neighbouring ranchers.
“We employ 6,500 people who directly earn Sh228 million; another Sh15.5 billion is earned as revenue from tourism and we contribute a further Sh608 million towards community development projects and conservation annually. We should be cautious as we might be hurting an industry that we have painstakingly built,” he said.
Dr Graham said there was need for a joint approach to the UK army issue to ensure that ranchers are consulted before allowing them into their farms adding that the army’s activities could be hurting neighbouring farms.
“Laikipia is recognised as a wildlife resource where some wildlife species found here are globally endangered. The noise and light pollution (helicopters, live firing, night exercises among others greatly conflict with Laikipia’s unique brand of wilderness-based tourism that has taken billions of shillings and decades to create,” he added.
The UK army men incursions have increased due to the country’s military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have chosen Laikipia due to its climatic conditions found to be similar to those in the identified countries.
The Three Sisters Caves along Kenya’s coast house bat guano knee-deep in some places. The ground skitters with cockroaches and whip spiders the size of a human hand. A frog corpse one morning could be picked clean by the afternoon: here.
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