By Cheki Abuje
The global Environmental Conservation entity – International Crane Foundation (ICF) in collaboration with International Crane Conservation (ICC)-Kenya Chapter have swiftly moved in to save the endangered wildlife species from destruction in Kenya and Uganda Wetlands occasioned by human activities.
Speaking in Western Kenya at Sio-Siteko Wetlands in Busia County, the East African Region Manager of International Crane Foundation Dr. Adalbert Aine-Muchunguza said there is need to conserve environment especially the Wetlands adding that human activities are destroying the environment, raising an alarm at the rapid disappearance of the ecosystems like Crane birds from the Wetlands.
The ICF boss however cautioned the public against destruction of Wetlands noting that both the ecosystem and the public can co-exist in harmony without adverse effects on environment. They promised to engage the locals in educating them on human – Wetlands co-existence.
However, in an effort to save Sio-Siteko Wetlands that extends to Uganda, the department of Kenya Forestry Services (KSF) Busia County has embarked on bamboo planting initiative along the more than 75km stretch that requires more than 100,000 tree seedlings at a cost of Kshs 2.5M. Sio-Siteko Wetlands covers an area of 30,000acres.
The Kenya country coordinator of International Crane Conservation (ICC) Rudolf Makhanu speaking to the press appreciated the efforts of the locals in the ongoing interventions and urged all the stakeholders to forge a united front in Conservation adding that Cranes are important in ensuring Wetlands health thus wanting the communities around Wetlands to preserve their habitats.
Makhanu noted that effects of climate change have linkages with destruction of environment through farming and grazing of animals but expressed optimism those challenges including trans-boundary conflicts through collaboration and mutual understanding of importance of Wetlands for a healthy livelihoods can be overcome. He however, emphasised on action-oriented strategies as way to go.
“As Endangered Wildlife Trust and International Crane Foundation we are committed towards securing, protecting and ensuring that birds like Cranes are conserved” Remarked Rudolf Makhanu. Adding that Western Kenya is a stronghold of endangered Species.
Dr. Muchunguza however, lauded the efforts of the County government of Busia in its interventions towards conserving Sio-Siteko Wetland. He said Wetlands in Africa share almost the same threats but called on stakeholders including the locals to employ best approaches in averting the threats and called on Governments, Civil Societies, individuals and International partners to double their efforts in conserving the fragile Wetlands. “We need to collectively tackle this life and diversity- threatening challenge by embracing partnerships” said ICF East African boss.