I traveled by piki piki (motorcycle) about 98 kilometers from Gede forest station to an area called Mrima wa ndege. I was requested by the Kenya Wildlife Service warden to educate the local community on environmental conservation.
Mrima wa ndege location is a big area consisting of three sub-locations. The area is dominated by shrubs and a few trees some Brachystegia species which are scattered throughout the area. The population is sparse and hence the community faces problems during the dry seasons , their crops die due to lack of water and they have to travel long distances in search of water for their crops, animals and for drinking.
A cut tree.
The community is constantly faced with problems of elephant invading their land, some of these elephants move from Tsavo East national park to Arabuko-Sokoke forest passing through the human settlements and shrubs. The ecosystem is conducive for elephants who find their way to Arabuko-Sokoke forest.
one of the elephants trap
The high level of poverty in the community has led them to destroy their environment, they cut down trees for building, for poles and charcoal. They also hunt wild animals to earn an income and sustain their families. This location has been facing food shortages over the past few years and the government recently donated food aid in form of maize to some families.
While at Mrima wa ndege I was very fortunate to meet with the three assistant chiefs of the three sub location and also all the village elders. This was a good opportunity for me to speak to the chiefs and elders to share my views on their issues and educate them on how they can use their land to earn an income without destroying their environment. After a long and fruitful discussion, the leaders were receptive and welcoming to my suggestions and they farther went a head to propose having a community park as a way to earning income and the villagers will eventually realize the economic value of animals such as elephants and hence conserve them.
FoASF – Conservation Officer