Simple solutions for stubborn problems: Communities close to Kenya’s Tsavo National Park plant trees to save wildlife

By Linah Mwamachi

Conflicts between humans and wildlife in Taita Taveta County in Kenya have lingered for ages, fighting for the scarce commodity like water. 

Rapid and harsh climate changes have affected the day to day human behaviours in this area, forcing humans to invade forests for firewood, charcoal, and timber. And as climate change continues to force people in this community into poverty, some are turning to poaching in Tsavo national park to support their families.  

Experts argue that harsh climatic changes are the root causes of poaching and human-wildlife conflict in most of Kenya’s national parks.  

 

Elephants and Hippos Lake Jipe National Park Taveta

As wild animals fail to find what to eat and drink in the parks especially during dry seasons, they turn to people’s gardens and plantations.  

In Taveta county, for example, several farmers are crying foul of wild animals destroying their food and crops. 

However, as LINAH reports in this feature, communities around the Tsavo park in this country have turned to tree planting as an innovation to end human-wildlife conflicts. 

As trees mature, they provide a microclimate that encourages more rains around the park, enabling communities to access water in dry seasons without going into the parks to look for it. 

Likewise, wild animals are able to access water right in the parks without going to the neighboring communities.

The rains also favour the growth of grass and trees that wild animals feed on, preventing them from crossing to people’s gardens. These same trees generate firewood for the locals.  

And climate experts have welcomed this innovation. They are calling for mass education of the local communities around national parks in Kenya about this innovation. 

Climate expert Collison Lorez and climate scientist Oliver Kipkogey from ICPAC ( Igad Climate Prediction and Application Centre) East Africa, say mass education on climate changes and how people can use such innovation to mitigate the situation is so vital.

Listen to the complete report by Linah Mwamachi by clicking on the audio player above.

 

This story was first aired on Sifa 107.7 FM Voi, Kenya on 27th August 2020. 

This story was produced in partnership with InfoNile with support from Code for Africa and funding from Internews and Earth Journalism Network.