By Calvin Cottar, Wycliffe Muga
Should things continue as they are, the government will be politically forced to order removal of wildlife populations by the Army and possibly even order de-gazetting of some of our larger protected areas to provide land for settlement and farming
It is notoriously difficult to get precise numbers on the populations of Kenya's remaining wildlife. We emphasise "remaining" because, while the numbers may be disputed, the general trend of rapid decline is universally acknowledged.
But the rate of that decline is not easy to measure, in part because we are dealing with populations living in wilderness areas, and still in large enough numbers to make it impossible to count each and every one: statistical models for arriving at scientific estimates have to be used.
The most widely accepted estimates however, are as follows for some of the key species:
-In the 1960s, Kenya had about 20,000 rhinos, but now has just about 1,000 of them left.
- Kenya had about 150,000 elephants in the 1970s, and now has about 30,000 elephants. This in itself being an improvement, as the elephant populations had at one point fallen to less than 20,000 in the 1980s.
- There were more than 20,000 lions in Kenya back in the 1970s, but there are only about 2,000 of them left now.
We should also note here that despite these numbers reflecting a seemingly irreversible decline in animal populations being very bad news indeed for the country, at least we have some kind of baseline to conduct our assessments. More....