Kenya's New Primate Reserve

Katherine Homewood, Japheth Mkunga
1977 Oryx  
Kenya's New Primate Reserve 175 of sufficient quantity or quality, are they found in significant numbers in the northern and southern parts of the range. The range is a remote area where development has been minimal. Although there is some competition for water and grass between the antelopes and the nomadic Somali pastoralists' livestock, both are subject to similar environmental stresses, and the absence of western technology has forced the Somalis to graze their livestock in a manner similar
more » ... to wild animals. This has kept livestock numbers far below what could be achieved with commercial ranching development, and several hundred years of co-existence has produced a balanced equilibrium between wild and domestic animals. Habitat conditions for the Hunter's antelope today are probably close to what they were decades ago, and the population is healthy. But this situation could alter drastically with a change in land use. Government plans to develop the area include large-scale hydro-electric and irrigation schemes along the Tana River, and an increase in livestock numbers for commercial production. If these schemes are established on the east side of the Tana River, within the natural range of the Hunter's antelope, particularly in or near the antelope's wet and dry season concentration areas, they will cause serious inroads in the antelope's population. In opposition to these plans, Kenya's Department of Wildlife Conservation and Management is proposing the conservation of the region's wildlife, using the area's high potential for tourism to show a higher economic return. But much information on the wildlife ecology is needed before any firm stand can be made. Given data of this kind, which I hope my studies will provide, a workable compromise between these conflicting interests is very possible. Two endangered monkeys, the Tana crested mangabey and the Tana red colobus, survive only in a small area of the Tana river in northern Kenya. The Government has now created a small reserve to protect them on land given up voluntarily by the local people. But the threat of a large irrigation project upstream could still jeopardise their survival. Mr Mkunga is Warden of the new reserve.
doi:10.1017/s0030605300015258 fatcat:ttfu5fdfojcx7p7u4gwfwrlcky