Duo citizenship jumbos earning Kenya, Tanzania hard currency

09Sep 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Duo citizenship jumbos earning Kenya, Tanzania hard currency

Elephants that crisscross Tanzania and Kenyan frontiers at free will daily defying man made national boundaries, are earning both countries foreign currency through tourism.

Jumbos taking their time in the wilderness of Kilimanjaro National Park. File photo.

Kenya's Amboseli National Park Assistant Warden, Daniel Kipkosgey said the jumbos move between Amboseli and Kilimanjaro National Park regularly hence contributing to tourist attractions.

“The elephants feed in Amboseli National Park at day time and in the evening cross the border to Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania to sleep. This happens every day throughout the year,” Kipkosgey told a cross-border learning exchange programme last week.

He suggested that a formal forum, guidelines and an agreement between the two countries is required to manage the dual citizenship non-passport holding cross-border jumbos to ensure that the cooperation is sustainable.

Thanks to European Union (EU) for funding the Pan-African programme to improve trans-boundary dialogue between wildlife managers and bureaucrats from both countries, is leading towards improving conservation of wildlife corridors and address other administrative challenges standing in the way of the jumbos.

Circumstances influencing the existence of elephants in Kenya are different from those in Tanzania; conservationists in both countries can manage elephants more effectively if they understand them, he noted.

These include political will, legal conservation frameworks, administration and management of conservation areas, funding, education, human-animal conflicts and whether or not conservation road maps are in place, among others.

Oikos East African in collaboration with the African Conservation Centre facilitated the EU-funded cross-border learning exchange programme dubbed CONNECKT (Conserving Neighbouring Ecosystems in Kenya and Tanzania) between July and August this year.

Wildlife managers and bureaucrats from both countries learnt differences of management approaches and other issues pertaining to conservation of elephants in the Amboseli-Kilimanjaro ecological system across the Kenya-Tanzania border.

They included senior officials from Amboseli, Arusha and Kilimanjaro national parks; representatives of the Olgulului-Olorashi Group Ranch and Amboseli Area in Kenya; managers of community-based wildlife management areas or conservancies, namely Enduimet WMA, Kitirua Conservancy and Rombo Conservancy; and key wildlife management personnel from Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and Longido District.

Besides sharing experiences and learning about conservation issues from Kenya and Tanzania, the officials also explored opportunities for jointly writing up grant proposals.   They had, among other things, realised that the political will on cross-border conservation existed through the East African Community (EAC) protocols of which both Kenya and Tanzania are members.

High ranking government officials based at the Kenya-Tanzania border also meet regularly to discuss cross-border issues, including security of natural resources.

The wildlife managers and bureaucrats visited various sites to analyse and compare factors influencing conservation of elephants on either side of the border and to identify synergies and differences.

Going by conservation status of the national parks, Kilimanjaro-Amboseli Ecosystem qualifies to become a Man and Biosphere Reserve. While Kilimanjaro National Park is recognised by UNESCO as a natural world heritage site, Amboseli National Park is already a Man and Biosphere Reserve.