Aberdare Forest National Park

Aberdare Forest National Park



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The Aberdare National Parkhad been proclaimed in 1950 and the Mau Mau's expert bush-craft and knowledge of the forests, would find one final use. In 1959 game warden Bill Woodley took die bold step of employing former Mau Mau guerrillas as armed rangers to protect the forests against poaching. H is plan was extremely successful, and he said of the Mau Mau:'They an see better, hear better and move faster than any of us."

"The most importantconservation project forthe Aberdare National Park in recent years lias been the consnuction of the 400-kilomctTC electric fence, a game-proof fence to keep wildlife in and people out. It's a pioneering concept to prevent poaching and any illegal exploitation of the forest habitat, and addresses human/wildlife issues on the edge of the park such as wild animals destroying crops or attacking livestock. A joint initiative of Rhino Ark (www.rhinoark.org. a UK and Kenya-based charity), the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenyan government, the fence project started in 1989.The final postwas laid in August 2009 and the fence formally commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki in March 2010. The fence now encircles the Aberdare National Park and demarcated forestry areas bordering the park. It is the longest and most technically advanced fence resolving human/wildlife conflict in Africa.

Rhino Ark was founded in 1988 in response to the grave crisis facing the black rhino in the Aberdares. Rampant poaching in the i970-8oshad seen Kenya's black rhino population drop from roughly 20,000 in 1970 to fewer than 500 by the early 1980s. and the Aberdare population had been decimated to just a few individuals. Rhino Ark's initial aim was to build a fence along the eastern Salient, which directly borders farmland and provided easy access to poachers, and where wildlife was able to maraud into crops (elephant can swiftly destroy the entire harvest of a subsidence farmer). But over the years the project lias expanded and the scale of the fence m irrors the changing threats to the Aberdare's

At the Aberdare fence commissioning ceremony at Mweiga in 2010. Rhino Ark chairman Colin Church said: 'The fencing had created a workable tool for ecosystem management that involved the fence-line farmers, and the wider public of Kenya who depended on the resources... the fence has further secured the protection of the priceless flora and fauna of the Aberdare Mountains."

Kenya Wildlife Services Director Julius Kipng'erich added: "The fence project has given us a tool that demonstrates how science can be applied to provide workable solutions to natural resource management".



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