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Poachers a threat to conservancy

05 April 2012, 11:50 Kelvin Wanjohi

Poachers in Laikipia County have been wrecking havoc with at least 19 elephants  killed in the area since the beginning of the year, according to  Kuki Gallmann, the director of Laikipia Nature Conservancy.

Gallmann said the poaching menace in the county had been further fueled by idle lands in the area where all sorts of poachers hide in bushes before they pounce on the unsuspecting animals or people.

She was speaking in Nyahururu this week during a meeting for Laikipia County professionals dubbed ' The Laikipia We Want' Gallmann said she had to move all rhinos from her conservancy to Meru for their safety, and urged the Government to repossess the lands owned by absentee landlords and create more wildlife conservancies, which could be more beneficial to the community.

The world-renowned conservationist noted that the Wildlife Act needed to be amended to provide more deterrent penalties because the current bails, bonds, fines and imprisonment terms offered by the courts were too lenient.

Gallmann spoke on the current human-wildlife conflict in the area saying Laikipia was bestowed with one of the largest number of wild animals living outside national parks in Kenya.
Instead of fighting them, she said, local residents should take advantage to generate revenue for the county just as the community surrounding Mara Game Reserve had done.

"Laikipia is a magical, amazing, extra-ordinary environment that can shine with many starts. We are people from different communities and must not lose the birds, butterflies and elephants that we see as bottleneck to our livelihood," Gallmann said.

She said the Laikipia Professionals Forum's main duty should be to ensure that no one  is excluded from developing the county.

She expressed disappointment over arson attack at her conservancy that left 5,000 hectares of the conservancy extensively damaged.

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