Tag Archives: electric fence

Electric fence

Earlier last week, David went to the western side of the forest around Malanga area where the forest is covered with cynometra thicket.   As he was walking along a path,he met with few community members who were talking about the electric fence project that has stopped.They were complaining that,that side is the only side remaining to be covered by the fence.It is about 5 km area where the fence is yet to be put.

This area is a threat to the community members since wildlife like the elephants could come out through this area and cause problems.Because of this,David took the initiative as a community member to write a letter to the Director of the Kenya Forest Service to ask him to allow for the completion of that remaining area.

In his letter,David told the Director how the idea and the funding of the fence came about and asked,his office to help complete the remaining area. The letter was copied to the forest management team and all the stakeholders of the forest.

Coastal Conservation Issues

David writes: It is said that that in the past, the Coastal Forest reached all the way from Mozambique up to Somalia. But due to growing human population many areas have been settled and the forest has gone.

The coastal people still remember the past situation compared to today. Every corner of the coastal forest is still giving thanks to the British Government before independence who demarcated and gazetted the natural forest as a Forest Reserve, protected by its own department and as a result the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is now the largest forest on the Kenya Coast.SNV31611

Some years after independence, some politicians began to demand some areas of the forest to be given to the community to settle. They did this to further their own campaigns. We are very thankful to the community elders around the forest who managed to stop the degazettement, and thereafter they were helped by the Birdlife International Conservation Project from the UK with community projects and later various other donors who supported the construction of an electric fence around the forest to stop elephants from destroying their crops.

SNV31400On the Kenyan Coast, during dry seasons, some areas of grass and plantations catch fire. In the last dry season, we had fires in the plantations and some grass areas, and a large number of hectares were burned. Birds like rollers and bee-eaters fly into the smoke to look for insects escaping from the fire and I found some that by bad luck some were burned.

This year, there has been global climate change. We were informed by the Kenya Meteorological Department that there will be very little rain during the coming rainy season. We were told our planting should happen very soon before the rains stop. The majority of farmers in the coast had planted maize as their staple food. Some of the crops are almost ready, many are not – and the rains now seem to have stopped.

In the forest, there are some water ponds but due to the global climate change, the rains were not sufficient to fill the ponds. The result of this is that the wild animals will suffer from water shortage.

The Kenya Wildlife Service at Arabuko-Sokoke Forest faces a hard job to help the animals get water up to the next rainy season, which arrives in September. This is a major challenge and we are as yet unsure what strategy they will employ to solve the problem.

ASF Water Hole

The forest has many water ponds which fill during both the short and long rains. During the wet seasons, animals can find water throughout the forest, however the ponds dry up during the dry season which then causes problems for local wildlife, especially elephants, who are trapped inside the forest by the electric fence.

elephant fence beside Arabuko-SokokeThere is a water pond in the Arabuko area which keeps water for a long time and is the last to dry out. This year, it dried in the middle of September and the elephants could no longer get water unless they leave the forest. However, the electric fence covers almost the whole forest, except the part between Girimacha and Boga Machuko villages.

Elephants have been around the forest for a long time, but today face problems not only from water shortages, but also forest disturbances and tree and animal poaching. The day to day Elephants are the indicator of the forest destruction.

We have spotted many snares and cut trees around the forest, as well as two elephant skeletons with their tusks removed. A poacher also recently died in the forest, having stepped on a poisoned metal spike – a real threat to others of us using the forest.

The forest now lies across the boundaries of 3 districts – Kilifi, Ganze and Malindi and has 3 forest stations, which are Gede, Jilore and Sokoke Forest. The officers in charge have demarcated the forest in three blocks and every officer is controlling / patrolling his / her bit, though this is not proving enough.

Ganze is a new District which borders the forest between Dzunguni and Malanga villages on the south and north western sides of the forest. Kilifi District borders the forest between Dzunguni and Matsangoni villages on the South and East of the forest, whilst Malindi District borders the forest wetween Matsangoni and Malanga villages on the East and North West of the forest respectively.

Due to the establishment of the new district, Sokoke Forest Station lies under Ganze District and Kilifi seems to have no Forest Station. In my opinion, a recommendation can be made to use Karacha as a new Forest Station under Kilifi, with its own Forester.

Kenya Wildlife Service at Gede Station play an important role in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve and the surrounding areas. It could be a nice idea if a Game Warden or Assistant Warden were posted at Sokoke Forest Station to reduce illegal activities and human and animal conflict.