Bushmeat

Illegal harvesting of bush meat is a major cause for decline of wildlife populations in Kenya. Bushmeat harvesting had for a long time been downplayed and ignored, being thought to be a subsistence activity until it dawned on conservationist that bushmeat was a thriving trade responsible for depleting large wildlife populations from many years of unsustainable bushmeat harvesting.

In the Tsavo Conservation Area, bushmeat is a serious problem within and outside protected areas. Bush meat extraction is fueled by poverty, unemployment, prolonged drought, increasing human population, uncontrolled access to forest wildlife facilitated by logging and mining activities, deficient capacity on the part of law enforcement entities to control bushmeat particularly, sophistication of hunting techniques, lack of capital or infrastructure for meat production, changes in the cultural environment and discarding of social taboos on traditional hunting, among other factors.

Reducing the problem of illegal bushmeat utilization requires multifaceted approaches that include understanding bushmeat dynamics, intensifying patrols, legal and policy framework, education and alternative livelihoods to professional trade in bushmeat.

Amara is continually involved in ways to help reduce the amount of bushmeat poaching that occurs. One step in order to help protect the animals was to support the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. In 2002, Amara donated a pickup to help get a new desnaring team up and running in Tsavo. Amara traveled with the team and saw firsthand how hard the work is, and how many snares are set on a continued basis. Amara has also been supporting the capacity of community scouts to improve bushmeat patrols; working with local community members to develop alternative livelihoods and carrying out bushmeat sensitization meetings.

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.

 

tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

We Need Your Help!

We can play a major role in protecting the most important wildlife habitat in East Africa, if not all the continent. It MUST be protected in our children’s lifetime or it could be lost forever. Please join us.

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