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Wildlife census takes off - 3rd September 2021 View All

Kenya’s first National Wildlife Census has taken to the air. Previously, data on animal species had been collected by local organisations or international conservationists. It’s hoped that this more cohesive and extensive census, covering 50 national parks, reserves and other protected areas in Kenya, will provide a more accurate picture of the animal population.

Years of poaching, expanding human settlements and climate change have all had a serious impact on the global wildlife population, and central Kenya is no exception.

Robert Obrein is the assistant director of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Robert Obrein: "We have always concentrated doing our things {the census} on protected areas, but for the first time, we're even going beyond protected areas because the national government wants to know where the wildlife is."

Aerial observation allows not only the number of animals to be counted, but it also enables tracking of the animals' habits - where they eat, drink and rest.

If animals are spotted around water holes close to people’s homes, it is evidence of extensive human encroachment into wildlife territory. Both animals and people suffer the consequences of attempts to keep out wildlife. About 500 people were attacked and killed by wild animals between 2014 and 2017.

Julius Cheptai's from Isiolo County Tourism and wildlife director.

Julius Cheptai: "We will also be able to address the issues to do with the human-wildlife conflict, in terms of population of those animals that are prone to human wildlife conflict."

For Robert Obrein, the fear of what the conflict between man and animals will mean in the future is very real.

Robert Obrein: "That means we are encroaching on wildlife places. That means eventually another 10 years, we might not be having wildlife outside protected areas."

Robert Obrein: "I'm really afraid that in the near future, we might be fencing off protected areas to keep wildlife safe."

It’s hoped that the census will allow greater understanding and planning for the cohabitation of animals and humans. View Less

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