By Nick Wadhams
Wildebeests, antelope, and other iconic African animals are declining just as quickly in Kenya's parks and reserves as in the country's unprotected lands.
That's the finding of a recent study that questions a central tenet of Kenya's wildlife conservation strategy.
Based on existing data, the team estimates that key animal populations have fallen by 40 percent over the past 30 years both inside and outside parkland.
The work seems to confirm what Kenyan environmentalists have suspected for years: Aside from a few success stories, such as elephant and zebra conservation programs, efforts to sustain wildlife numbers in Kenya seem to be failing due to poor monitoring and enforcement.
The paper adds to growing evidence that many of Africa's protected parks are seeing wildlife declines as a result of poaching for trophies and bush meat, habitat destruction, and human encroachment.
In Kenya "we're seeing that the settlement of livestock and the settlement of people is beginning to degrade the rangelands," said David Western, one of the report's co-authors and chair of the African Conservation Center.
"I think we're at the beginning of another sort of downturn that is going to be quite serious." More....