Kenya Wildlife Service has completed a multi-million-shilling programme that has now connected the Northern tourism circuit with that of the Coast.PHOTO:COURTESY
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has completed a multi-million-shilling programme that has now connected the Northern tourism circuit with that of the Coast.
The programme, funded by the French Government involved initiation of community-based projects in the Bisanadi (Isiolo), Kora (Tana River), Rahole (Garissa), Mwingi (Kitui) Tharaka-Nithi and Meru national reserves at a cost of Sh56 million.
Bisandi and Mwingi are managed by the respective county governments while the rest are managed by KWS. They all fall under the Meru conservation area.
KWS had initially connected the two circuits in 2009 through construction of a bridge along Tana River at Kora and airstrips at Bisanadi, Kora and Rahole.
In an interview with The Standard, KWS Meru National Park Senior Warden Tuqa Jirmo said connecting the two regions’ circuits will ease travel for tourists.
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“Insecurity that had hindered travelling in the past has been improved through recruitment of community game rangers at the game parks bordering Meru Park,” said Mr Jirmo, who is also an expert in wildlife management.
The programme involved rehabilitation of game reserves in five counties in Northern Kenya and the Meru National Park, which is more developed.
The project also improved conservation of biodiversity of the protected areas and the peripheral zones occupied by human beings. Mr Jirmo said human-wildlife conflict in the region had reduced significantly after improving infrastructure, security and welfare of the communities living around the parks.
“We want to turn this area into another Maasai Mara. Soon, tourists will not need to travel the long distance through Nairobi to come here. They will access the region directly,” he said.
Unlike Maasai Mara, the game reserves in the region are not congested and are endowed with rare wildlife and dynamic cultures that are largely unexploited.
Apart from Meru National Park, Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs, the other parks in the Northern circuit have been idle in the past due to insecurity and poor infrastructure.
“Ecologically, KWS would secure the biodiversity of key protected areas and protect them from increased human activities,” says a document on the project.
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KWS constructed a 43km electric fence in Kinna, Tharaka-Nithi, Mwingi and Meru North from part of the French grant.
It has also improved infrastructure, including construction of 14km access road linking Murera and Maua in Meru County.
As part of its education programme, KWS carried out community sensitisation activities on prudent use of natural resources and conservation.