CCF In Kenya - One Year On (2002)
The Kenya project is now a year old.
We have settled into our housing facility on the shore of Lake Elementeita (on Delamere Estates) and into routines, including monthly game counts on this farm, semi-annual forum (conservancy) counts, weekly education programs at schools and/or nearby lodges, scheduling interviews and following up on calls of cheetah sightings. We are meeting a variety of people including herders, village elders, shopkeepers, teachers, students, landowners and park rangers. To-date CCF Kenya has conducted 28 interviews in the Nakuru area and 7 interviews in neighboring districts (Laikipia, Machakos, Narok). These people share their feelings on conservation, wildlife issues, land management and the future of the cheetah in Kenya. Informal discussions on these issues occur daily. Each day we learn and we teach, we share ideas and seek solutions.
Human densities in Kenya have led to increased subdivision of land, which once remained open for animal movements. Settlement, deforestation and cultivation create large areas of land where wildlife cannot pass through at all. Droughts and over usage of land have resulted in food and water shortages. The issue facing CCF Kenya now is to aid in identifying solutions to these problems. Solutions that will provide long term benefits for people and wildlife.
Although people of all backgrounds and trades seem to be very concerned about the low numbers of cheetah in Kenya, the fact still remains that cheetah numbers seem to be declining at an alarming rate. Both within and outside of the parks, cheetah sightings and signs of cheetah (tracks, kills...) are decreasing. People do not always differentiate one cat species from the other and many people see all predators as a threat to their lives and livelihoods. Using the data we collect and the contacts we make through our research we aid farmers in sharing methods of land and wildlife management that will benefit the future of Kenya and the survival of the cheetah.