NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has secured 29,035 acres of land as habitat for wildlife in Amboseli, in the south of Kenya.
The agreement signed by Daniel Leturesh the Chairman of the Olgulului Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR) and Azzedine Downes, President and CEO, IFAW, will see 3,598 landowners benefit from annual lease fees and eventually eco-tourism revenue once the land is legally registered as a wildlife conservancy.
According to Downes, in order to mitigate Human wildlife conflict while promoting biodiversity and lessening the effects of climate change, the need to actively secure spaces for wildlife and people to coexist is paramount now more than ever before.
“By allowing the lease of an additional 29,035 acres, the local community in Amboseli continues to actively demonstrate the commitment they have made to securing space and coexisting with wildlife for which I am grateful, “said Azzedine Downes, President and CEO of IFAW at the agreement signing event.
Downes also guaranteed that the land will remain in the hands of its original owners and will work with them to attract investors in the tourism sector among other areas that will hopefully unlock financial opportunities for the community so that they are not over reliant on tourism which as COVID19 has shown, can be disrupted.
In 2013, IFAW and OOGR signed an agreement with 1,600 landowners that saw 16,000 acres of land of the Kitenden wildlife corridor secured as wildlife habitat for five years.
This new agreement brings the area that the local land owners and IFAW have secured for conservation to 55,035 acres.
The loss and degradation of wildlife habitat has seen an escalation in human wildlife conflict as the spaces available for wildlife and for local communities to access water and pasture continue to diminish.
“These areas not only provide for the keeping of livestock, which is the economic mainstay of the community, but also ensure connectivity for wildlife is maintained,” said Leturesh.
Besides securing space, IFAW will work in partnership with others to address the challenge of degradation of the landscape through restoration of overgrazed areas.