Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza hosted a fundraiser dinner for the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival initiative that realized about Ksh. 12 million shillings.
So far, close to 500 communities in the environs of Amboseli national park have directly benefited from projects funded through the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival which was launched two years ago.
The festival, which will be held sometime, next month at Amboseli national park is a joint ambitious initiative between the government and private sector to minimize human- wildlife conflict through a number of interventions.
From the Ksh. 16 Million raised so far, 475 households have benefitted directly from projects initiated key among them being water projects initiated to reduce the scramble for water resources between human beings and Wildlife. So far, four boreholes have been dug near communities in the Amboseli ecosystem including; the Impala borehole, Risa borehole, Olgulului borehole and Kimana borehole.
Also, additional land has been mobilized through partnership with communities in a bid to minimize elephants straying into the community land.
Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza, “As we transition the country towards sustainable tourism, we are looking at ways to make sure that our natural resources are well protected for the future. As you can see, the funds raised are going into projects that are improving the lives of communities and wildlife as well. The Tembo Naming Festival champions for elephant conservation through various activities such as naming of elephants, collaring and tracking, community livelihood projects and conservation education programs. I applauded more than 20 proud parents who have shown their invaluable support by adopting elephants.”
The CS also noted with concern the effects of climate change pointing out the current drought situation that has also affected wildlife in Kenya. She stressed on the need to consider long term mitigation solutions.
Kenya Tourism Board CEO, Dr. Betty Radier underscored the huge impact that conservation has had on the modern traveller’s awareness of environmental issues and their impact on the planet. She added that the current tourist demands a higher level of respect for nature and its inhabitants from both visitors and locals alike.
“Today’s traveller wants to do more than just visit a national park or go on a game drive. They want to experience and feel the impact of their travel and also be part of conservation efforts, as well as learn about how they can make a difference themselves in supporting conservation efforts. As a destination, we have to adapt and integrate our tourism offering accordingly so that we can attract more travellers who want to visit Kenya but also do something for the environment.,” she said.
Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Brig. (Rtd.) John Waweru said that conducting wildlife monitoring through earth ranger systems and community grassroots projects, Kenya Wildlife Service aims to secure a better future for elephants and their habitats as well as foster peaceful co-existence with their human neighbours. He also noted that the agency is committed towards identifying existing challenges in wildlife conservation and developing solutions that are holistic and sustainable from an environmental as well as socio-economic perspective.