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Monday, 20 June 2016

The only value of the ivory is tusks on a live elephant

Largest Ivory stock set on fire
 Kenya demonstrated for the fourth time their determination in the war against poachers and illegal smuggling of protected animal trophies.  Twelve towers made up of tusks estimated to be from about 8,000 elephants and rhino horns from 343 animals were burnt on 30th of April.

The event brought together heads of state from several African nations and hundreds of onlookers who came to witness Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta incinerating $172 million worth of illicit wildlife goods.  This was the most significant demonstration against poaching in the region and the largest burn of illegal wildlife products in history. It took Kenya's Wildlife Service’s 10 days to build the crematorium. This was Kenya's fourth such burn in a practice that goes back to 1989 during the retired president Daniel arap Moi term.

The burning of the ivory highlights the continuing crisis in elephant populations. About 30,000 to 50,000 elephants a year were killed from 2008 to 2013 alone, according to the Born Free Foundation, and the rate of killing surpasses the rate of births in Africa.
In 2008, the ban on ivory was lifted temporarily to allow stockpiles to be sold to the profit of the countries that owned them. But according to campaigners this resulted in a “spike” in poaching, with about 100,000 elephants lost as a result.

There are other methods deployed to discouraging poaching, such as removing tusks and dyeing rhino horns, but have had little effect in reduce poaching. The type of poaching currently witnessed is fueled by conflict and organized crime, where militias have used their arms, to wage war on the wardens of conservation areas and on local populations.
The debate on legalizing trade in Ivory has been brewing since at least 1989, when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to "ban" the international trade in ivory after a ferocious wave of poaching in Africa that left hundreds of thousands of elephants butchered.

That question facing 
African countries in their fight against the multimillion-dollar illegal ivory trade. Is weather to burn or not to burn, countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe have been more successful in conserving their wildlife. They therefore believe that they have the right to offload their excess stock in a regulated way to a given market, the proceeds from the sale goes back to communities and conservation.  They have in the past been lobbying to have the ban lifted. However, experts have argued that additional killing of elephants by countries with surplus, even if legal, is not sustainable. The 1989 ban on ivory trade must be kept in place to protect elephants, especially now that poaching has once again risen to catastrophic levels.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Lake Nakuru a favorite place for weekend gateway

There is no denying that the rise of lakes poses a great risk to the tourism industry, the famous hot springs and jets at Lake Bogoria have subsided, and the number of flamingoes in Lake Nakuru has reduced significantly. This has had a direct impact on the aesthetics of the area and visitors that fancy such attractions. Other rift valley lakes that have experienced rising water level include Naivasha, Elementaita and Baringo.

Water level in the park has been rising since 2011, to levels not seen in the last 50 years. It has remained high even when it isn’t raining making navigating the park almost impossible. Water levels have risen by as much as 2 metres, submerging sections of acacia forest and reducing the salinity of the water, thereby rendering the aquatic habitat unsuitable for flamingos. The lake is now less saline which isn’t conducive for algae as it thrives well in alkaline water. Flamingos have temporarily moved from Lake Nakuru to Lake Bogoria 100 kilomtres away leaving behind just a few hundreds.

Various government agencies have advanced different hypotheses to explain the high rise. The Meteorological department has reported that the rainfall patterns in the rift and its catchment areas are normal while the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has blamed the rise in levels to siltation of the lakes due to degradation of the catchment areas.

However, scientifically, the rise in the water level of the lakes in Rift Valley is due to effects of regional tectonics influenced by the movements of global earth’s plate tectonics.

Lake Nakuru National Park still remains one of the most attractive parks in Kenya despite the reduction of flamingoes. The population of over 450 bird species found in Lake Nakuru has increased tremendously, these includes pelicans, storks and gulls as well numerous species of migratory birds. The previously elusive hippos are now easier to see.

The reduction in grasslands by the rising water levels has made it easier to view the rest of the thriving rich diversity of mammalian population in the park. These include buffalos, baboons, impalas, bushbacks, Waterbucks, Lions, leopards, warthogs, pythons, and white rhinos among others. The landscapes range from sweeping grasslands bordering the lake to rocky cliffs and woodland to the largest euphorbia candelabrum forest in Africa. These tall branching succulents are endemic to the region and provide an interesting textural element to the arid landscapes.

The high water levels mean that much of the plains game has become easier to see. Seasonal rivers including Njoro, Makalia, Nderit, Naishi and Larmudiak have flowed continuously for the last year due to improved hydrology as a result of conservation efforts in the Mau Complex.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Rimoi Game Reserve

Tucked away in the scenic Elgeyo Marakwet County is the little-known Rimoi Game Reserve, home to East and Central Africa’s largest herd of elephants. The reserve is 40 kilometers from Iten town. To access the reserve, one uses the meandering Iten-Kabarnet road that offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
The elephants at the reserve move together in a group of about 100, compared to other elephant herds that move in pairs, or in a group of three or five. Also found in the park are smaller mammals such as dik dik, impala, bush pig, warthog, monkeys, baboons, civet, genet, and pangolin. Reptiles include tortoise, variety of lizards and many snakes, there are also huge variety of bird species.
Rimoi Reserve is also home to other unique wildlife that includes the world’s rare white crocodile at the campsite along Kerio River. The crocodile witnessed a decline in population due to interference in the habitat by human activity.
 The reserve has been established by wildlife scientists as a breeding ground for elephants that trout to the sanctuary from neighboring Turkana and Samburu counties. The Elephants found in Rimoi graze mainly at night and shelter under riverine bushes because of the sweltering heat in Kerio Valley. A visitor to the reserve should look out for the elephants in these bushes along the rivers, or at night when they roam freely in the reserve. However, one must be cautious as any slightest provocation sparks ire from these wild animals.
The County Government of Elgeyo Marakwet and Kenya Wildlife Service have moved in to rehabilitate the reserve and restocked with buffalos, giraffes, water bucks, zebras, gazelles and impalas. Rangers and a warden to increase security surveillance and the infrastructural development completed. The Reserve has been fence to ward off poachers and also reduce human wildlife conflict

View of Rimoi Game Reserve

Friday, 11 October 2013

Tour Africa's Upcoming Solar Eclipse in Lake Turkana

Kenya is a great natural beauty country in Africa. It is a safari destination where holidays are enjoyable, memorable and lifetime experience. It offers magnificent National Parks & Reserves with different species of wildlife living in their natural habitat; there are areas not fully explored and the opportunity to get off the beaten track away from the crowds.

The wide open spaces that stretch as far as the eye can see are breath-taking. The variety of wilderness areas including, National Parks & Reserves and private ranches & conservation areas offer you the freedom to step out of your safari vehicle and enjoy a variety of activities. The opulent forests, majestic mountains, breath-taking scenery, birdlife, ethnic cultures, fresh water lakes, beach holidays, favourable climate and warm hospitality of the people, all add up to make our country the best holiday destination.

At Kenya’s far Northern frontier lies one of the natural wonders of the world. Lake Turkana is a massive inland sea, the largest desert lake in the world; it is widely known as the Jade Sea, because of the remarkable, almost luminous, colour of its waters. Turkana has one of the longest living histories on earth its unique geographical features, the richness of the surrounding traditional peoples and their cultures, notwithstanding the abundance of fossils especially hominid fossils, that earned it the name 'The `Cradle of Mankind' which has contributed more to the understanding of paleo-environments than any other site on the continent.

On November 3rd 2013, few countries will experience the viewing of the total solar eclipse, Kenya being one of them.  The umbral path of totality will traverse over equatorial Gabon in Western Africa, Congo, Uganda, Kenya and finally Ethiopia in the Northern part of Kenya in Turkana. One will witness a 14- 22 seconds sunset total eclipse of the Sun by the shores of Lake Turkana in a desert landscape. This will be the prime location to capture this wonderful display of nature in her magnificence. The largely conducive atmospheric conditions and meteorological records indicate a high percentage of clear skies during this event with the total eclipse expected late afternoon when both sun and moon are approaching the horizon. Turkana has been the site of past eclipses and the skies have always been clear.

The identified location for the best view in Kenya is at the heart of the Koobi Fora situated within Sibiloi National Park a World Heritage Site, and known as the Cradle of Mankind the best chance of clear skies along the entire eclipse track through Africa from which to experience this amazing phenomenon. Tourists‐ both local and international will have the chance to experience world‐class desert safaris while visiting the Cradle of Humankind (Northern Tourist Circuit).

To witness such an event is a singularly memorable experience which cannot be conveyed adequately through words or photographs and combined with this unique safari touching the most beautiful parks of Kenya and the rich culture of pokot, Samburu and finally the Turkana people and the El Molo the country’s smallest tribe, live as hunter-gatherer existence on the shores, in villages of distinctive rounded thatched huts, it’s a once in a life time travel adventure! 
 Some of the attractions include;
  • An elephant fossil dating 1.7 million year 
  • Archaic Kenyan forest that has been fortified for preservations – 12.8 million years old, among other things.