A wild elephant moves around the Sarova Taita Salt Lick Lodge in Taita Taveta County. [Photo by Maarufu Mohamed/Standard]
The county government has begun the process of developing the 640 square-kilometre Nyambene Conservancy.
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Gazetted in 2002, the conservancy touches the Meru National Park, Samburu and Shaba game reserves, and sits on a wildlife migration corridor.
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The area teems with antelopes, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and leopards. It is also home to lions and buffaloes.
Tourism, Trade, Industrialisation and Co-operatives Executive Maingi Mugambi yesterday announced that 27 rangers had been posted to the conservancy.
The rangers, who were trained by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), will be on the county payroll.
According to Mr Mugambi, the department was in the process of developing the conservancy into a top tourist destination.
“Nyambene is an important ecosystem. The conservancy is meant to protect wildlife, reduce wildlife-human conflict and create opportunities for locals to participate in tourism,” he said.
The conservancy is part of plans to develop tourism sites in the arid region that boasts a number of natural springs.
Besides being a tourism hub, the conservancy is expected boost security for pastoral communities in Tigania and Igembe that have been ravaged by cattle rustling.
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According to Mugambi, cattle raids by invaders from neighbouring counties have gone down following the posting of wardens to the conservancy.
The tourism department hopes to replicate the success of the neighbouring Samburu conservancy.
“The Samburu community has done it very successfully, proving that income can be generated in the Nyambene conservancy. We want people to build hotels and other amenities,” said Mugambi.
His department plans to fence the wild animal corridor to reduce animal-wildlife conflict.