Nairobi, Aug 7 – Kenya has launched a National Recovery and Action Plan for Lions and Hyenas that will ran over the next 10 years aiming to preserve a viable population of the two threatened species in healthy ecosystems for the benefit of posterity.

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, launched the action plan at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve on August 6, noting that lions and hyenas played an important role in the wild food chain by controlling herbivores, which if not regulated, would become too numerous, heightening the competition for food to such an extent that some species would die out and become extinct.

“If lions and hyenas did not exist, there would be a symbiotic relationship between parasites and herd animals,” said Balala. “This way, parasites could increase and spread throughout the herd, resulting in fewer healthy animals.”

The conservation plan was developed in accordance with the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

Balala said that Kenya’s lion population had risen to about 2,489 from an estimated 1,970 lions in 2018.

He urged the public to refrain from poisoning lions and hyenas in instances where there was conflict between people and wildlife and instead report livestock predation to the relevant authorities and launch compensation claims.

Balala said that no new camps and lodges would be put up in wildlife protected areas without permission from the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.

He called for the drafting of a Maasai Mara Management Plan by August 31, 2020 to ensure that the rich national reserve was professionally managed.