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Lake Kamnarok, working to save crocodile oasis

HUMAN ACTIVITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE THREATEN KENYA'S PARADISE

01-02-2021 di redazione

The small and beautiful Lake Kamnarok is at risk of drying out and crocodiles are the first to suffer. Now a European project is trying to save it and restore it to its former glory.
The Kamnarok National Reserve is located 260 kilometres from Nairobi and was established in 1983. It is located about 25 kilometres from the Lake Baringo airstrip and can be accessed by both air and road. Lake Kamnarok is, however, at the base of the Kerio River valley. The name is derived from the term Kalenjin Narok, which is not a geographical or ethnic definition but refers to a species of aquatic plant that was widely present in the lake. The lake is surrounded by dense vegetation that makes accessibility challenging.
The lake, which was once home to more than 10,000 crocodiles, was for a long time the second largest in Africa for this population, after Lake Chad, 400 elephants with 13 other mammal species.
More than climate change, in this case it is human activities that make the reserve a paradise to be visited in time before the drying up becomes eternal and no longer just seasonal.
The felling of trees for charcoal burning and agriculture, as well as the invasion of hyacinth into the lake waters, pose a serious threat to the reserve.
The number of crocodiles has been reduced to less than 3,000 and the situation is getting worse every year.
The shores of the lake are now overgrown with plant species, not only water hyacinth but also other types of vegetation.
The ecosystem was also home to 59 species of birds, but today most of them have migrated to other areas. The park is home to 600 elephants, but due to the drying up of the lake, human-wildlife conflicts have increased.
Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis admits that the lake is in danger of disappearing and has urged everyone to work with the county government to save it. "The lake was once a tourist attraction, but today it is no longer visited by tourists," he said.
Hope for the revival of the reserve appeared after eight counties that make up the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) signed a climate change mitigation pact, which will lead to the conservation of the Kerio River ecosystem.
The Noreb project, dubbed Community Resilience in Kerio River Ecosystem, seeks to engage pastoralists and farmers in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties by adapting their needs to environmental conservation.
The UK Aid-funded project will ensure that the relevant institutions harmonise their laws and work together on projects to reverse the effects of climate change.
Dominic Biwott, chief executive of Noreb, said the pact will ensure that the region reverses the ravages of climate change and that communities can manage the area to their mutual benefit.

 

TAGS: KamnarokLaghi KenyaRiserve KenyaAmbiente Kenya

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