KWS marks World Wildlife Day, decry Roan antelope as most endangered

KWS marks World Wildlife Day, decry Roan antelope as most endangered

As the world marked the Word Wildlife Day on Tuesday, it has now emerged that the Roan antelope is now the most endangered species with only 12 of them remaining and also having been classified as critically endangered in the Wildlife Act.

Speaking while marking the day at Ruma National Park in Homa Bay County, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala attributed the decline of this population to factors including land use changes, poaching, predation and diseases.

“We are calling on all stakeholders as successful effort of the recovery plan will require efforts by the government and other stakeholders to ensure restoration of the species population and its habitats,” said Balala

During the event, CS Balala also launched the recovery and action plan for the roan antelope in Kenya (2020-2030).

“The plan will help address security, population and habitat management, community involvement, education and awareness and coordination,” added Balala.

In an event dubbed ‘Sustaining all life on Earth’ , conservationists further expressed concern saying that the state of global diversity is worrying since the only place they call home is critically ill.

The recovery plan among other things seeks to ensure poaching, especially of the roan antelope is eliminated and conservation is maintained.

The Roan antelope. PHOTO| COURTESY
The Roan antelope. PHOTO| COURTESY

According to Dr. Yussuf Adan Wato; Wildlife Expert, WWF-Kenya, the Living Planet Report, 2018 that shows the state of global biodiversity as ailing is a wake up call for all stakeholders to realise that nature is a life-support system.

“If nature is under threat we are. If nature collapses we do too because nature is our life-support system. From the fresh air, we breathe to the soil that nurtures our crops, people need natural resources like wildlife to survive and thrive. It will take all of us, governments, businesses and individuals to restore and reverse this,” said Dr. Wato.

Dr. Wato further noted that the study also tracked the population abundance of wildlife around the world and revealed an astonishing 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years.

“The Roan antelope is now locally extinct in all its former ranges in Kenya with only less 12 individuals left in Ruma National Park… we call on Kenyans to join efforts to reverse this alarming trend before we lose the entire species. If we don’t take action, we will be judged harshly by history,” added Dr. Wato.