Thursday, 15 August 2013

Poachers Kill White Rhino in Nairobi Park

Poachers shot dead a white rhinoceros in Nairobi National Park last week in a brazen raid, AFP reported Tuesday (August 13th). Poachers hacked out the horn from its head and escaped, said Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Udoto.
"It is the first such poaching incident in the park in the last six years," Udoto said, adding that 35 rhinoceros have been killed this year, already more than the 29 killed in Kenya in the whole of 2012.
The park, which lies just seven kilometres from downtown Nairobi, is described by KWS as "a unique ecosystem by being the only protected area in the world close to a capital city".

Tourists Numbers in Amboseli National Park on the Rise as Chinese Visitors Increase

The number of foreign tourists to the Amboseli National Park has risen by more than 20 per cent to over 18, 560 visitors in the last three months, according to hoteliers. Visitors from China alone have taken up 80 per cent of the total bookings in the last three months. Over the last five months the Chinese visitors have outnumbered those from Europe, America and Canada. Amboseli has experienced the largest number of tourists in years and that all the seven lodges and hotels outside and three inside the park are fully booked.
In view of the upward trend the number of tourists between now and December could triple. The rising number of Chinese visiting the country could be linked to increased trade and contact between Kenya and the Asian giant. Chinese hoteliers have invested millions of shillings in Amboseli and recently acquired 60 acres of land and put up a Chinese lodge named the A-A.
A senior KWS warden in Amboseli, Julius Cheptei, attributed the influx of Chinese to the marketing of the Kenyan Wildlife products in the eastern bloc. Cheptei said Chinese investors have in the past one year been attracted to the Kenyan tourism sector with many buying land to put up hotels in the Amboseli. Recently, a Chinese actress visited Amboseli and Maasai Mara with a battery of news crews from her country.

Integrate Public Health in Wildlife

Veterinary experts have advised the Government of Uganda to incorporate public health in tourism programs to fight the outbreak of wildlife disease in National Parks.
Dr.Gladys Kalema Zikusoka, the founder of Conservation through Public Health (CTPH) said focusing on health in the tourism sector plays a vital role in curtailing the spread of disease. She said: "The country experiences outbreaks of disease especially in the National Parks. This is associated with the direct contact between human beings and wildlife. Many tourists and the local population do not know human diseases can be transmitted to wildlife."
Wildlife authorities should have strong mechanisms in place to integrate public health as a conservation tool to protect endangered species like the Gorillas. Kalema was speaking during the commemoration to mar 10 years in existence of CTPH. CTPH is a non-profit, non-government organisation founded in 2002. Its mission is to promote conservation and public health and improving primary health by improving public health care to people and animals in and around protected areas in Africa.
Kalema said addressing the issue of public health in communities surrounding National Parks where endangered species are found can reduce the outbreak of disease like tuberculosis, scabies and ebola among wildlife species. Some wildlife like the Mountain Gorillas have similar genes like human beings. the organization has managed to train local communities on early diagnosing of tuberculosis especially among students both in primary and secondary schools . Emphasis is on how to reduce TB prevalence in local communities in and around the Bwindi and Mgahinga conservation park.
"Under this model we have to strengthen primary and secondary prevention measures in wildlife by reducing threats of disease to wildlife through education on human and livestock transmission to and from wildlife. This has been achieved through training of the human and gorilla conflict resolution team and park staff in Bwindi, Mgahinga conservation area and Queen Elizabeth Park. We also sensitize tour operators on human and great ape disease transmission issues. In Uganda gorillas generate as much as $1,460,000 per year from tourism.
Dr. Andrew Seguya, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director told EABW, integrating conservation through public health is a working model. UWA intends to introduce the model in National Parks across the country He said: "In Western Uganda the approach has succeeded. We appeal to the Government to support UWA and other NGOs through programs such as Conservation through Public Health. These should be implemented countrywide in all National Parks."