EAST AFRICAN WILD LIFE SOCIETY CONDEMNS THE SHOOTING OF CONSERVATIONIST KUKI GALLMAN
Nairobi, 24th April 2017: The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) condemns the shooting of renowned conservationist and owner of Laikipia Nature Conservancy Kuki Gallman by armed raiders. The shooting comes in the wake of similar criminal acts by the raiders who have invaded several conservancies that have left over 30 people dead and wildlife fatalities.
EAWLS is concerned that the ongoing government operation has failed to stop the illegal invasions into the conservancies in Laikipia and as deaths and injuries continue, seemingly unabated. This unfortunate development brings an air of despair and anarchy which threatens in a big way the co-existence of the residents and the areas flora and fauna, which several stakeholders are working hard to conserve. Further it is yet to be understood why the raiders have refused to vacate the area even after the onset of rains across the country.
The government must stop these criminal acts of invasion of private property and the wanton disregard for the grave consequences of loss of lives, destruction of properties and damage to the conservancy ecosystem. The society calls on the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to uphold the rule of law and provide a proper update on the military and the police operations to evict the armed raiders that are currently shrouded with secrecy.
The economic pinch of this situation is already being felt as many lodges in the conservancies remain deserted as visitors keep of owing to insecurity. Kenya’s services sector, which contributes about 63 percent of GDP, is dominated by
tourism that thrives through conservation efforts in the private wildlife sanctuaries. Already the conservancies are mulling total closure which will also lead to job losses for the locals who have been eking a living from the ranches.
The sanctuaries which are home to some of the most pristine natural resources including wildlife, forests and wetlands have been symbols of the much needed conservation efforts in Kenya. They have provided perfect conditions for the thriving of most wildlife species as pressure from tourism affects our national parks and reserves.
Laikipia ecosystem is has second highest concentration of wildlife in the country (second only to the Masai Mara), and more endangered wildlife species than anywhere else in Kenya. This is an area of great conservation value whose fate is largely in the hands of its residents and their peaceful co-existence. This can be attributed to its wide range of habitats and perhaps connectivity that exists among these habitats.