Dar es Salaam. The ongoing infrastructure development and other human activities in Africa, East Africa in particular, is one of the leading factors that contribute to extinction of the wildlife or hinder them to migrate.
Some animals and birds that are at great risk due to ongoing developments include flamingos, cranes, storks, vultures, wildebeests and Zebras. WildlifeDirect chief executive officer Paula Kahumbu said landscape, corridors and open space areas are important for survival of wildlife animals. The migratory birds and animals move to search for food, water, a better environment and for reproduction, but serious threats from infrastructure development, fencing and other related activities hinder animals from crossing. She made the remarks yesterday at the virtual meeting between Internews Earth Journalism Network and WildlifeDirect that over 255 species of birds that fly through Africa, 40 percent of those species, are at risk of extinction.
The government has been talking about securing the land, creating corridors but at the same time talking about fencing national parks. “You are on one hand talking about constructing flyovers, ways animals to pass and on the other building bigger roads and barriers in the middle of roads, which leave the animals struggling to cross,” she said.
Ms Kahumbu stressed that wildebeest migration from Nairobi National Park to Africa Pit has declined by 98 per cent they are literally about 400 wildebeest left in Nairobi Park Equal area and on the other side they are maybe about 2000 left, “so these are the very serious threats that we fail to see…What we fail to see when we look on big animal is what happening to the smaller animals.”
Kenya is planning to construct two new dams in Masai Mara River, this the issue that needs to be addressed now we cannot afford to lose wildebeest migration. Kenya was up in arms about Tanzania building a highway across Serengeti which will interrupt the movement of animals which is true but we are not addressing why wildebeest come. As Africans we need to take responsibility to find out the science of some issues related to the obstruction of agriculture.
Kenya Wildlife Conservation Association (KWCA) chief executive officer Mr Dickson Kaela said there is a need to come up with strategies of maintaining open space to allow the migration of animals. Migration is not a luxury, it is essential for long term survival of wildlife.
“Migratory of wildlife is very important to African countries including Kenya. If the animals will not move, countries will spend a lot of money for the ecosystem,” he said.