THE EFFECT OF COMMUNITY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY ON CONSERVATION OF CRITICALLY ENDANGERED HIROLA ANTELOPE IN GARISSA COUNTY
This study sought to establish the effect of community sanctuary at Garissa County that was constructed in 2012 with the sole purpose of providing favorable environment for Hirola breeding. Immediately after completion of the sanctuary in August, 2012, forty eight (48) individual Hirola were moved into the Sanctuary for breeding. The study employed a survey research design in data collection. The target population of this study was 63 individuals who were directly involved with operations of the sanctuary, this included board members, grazing committee members, rangers, fence maintenance team and management. The data collection instrument used was a structured questionnaire. The researcher used both qualitative and quantitative techniques in data analysis. Descriptive statistics was employed to communicate research findings. The study findings indicated that the wildlife monitoring system had significant effect on Hirola conservation & breeding in that it helped the Sanctuary management to understand various aspect of the wildlife like population, health condition, age, sex and wildlife conflict. The information from wildlife monitoring was also used for decision making and more so to provide history on success and failures on application of various conservation approaches. The predator proof fence had eliminated poaching, predation and competition for pasture between Livestock and wildlife which in turn led to increase in Hirola population. However, the fence had greatly interfered with the traditional grazing pattern of the adjacent pastoral communities and also the migratory route of other wildlife living outside the sanctuary. It was also established that controlled grazing within the Sanctuary has improved pasture regeneration, enhanced food security for Hirola in the Sanctuary but had negatively affected the traditional grazing pattern of the neighboring community. The study revealed that the establishment of the Hirola Sanctuary was indeed a right step towards enhancing Hirola conservation and breeding and suggested further research to be carried out on the behavioral differences between the Hirola living in the sanctuary and those living outside the Sanctuary and who were exposed to poaching, predation and competition for pasture with livestock.
Key terms: Captive breeding, Ex-situ conservation, In situ conservation, Hirola, IUCN Red list, Wildlife Sanctuary
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