Month: April 2016

Kenya makes miracles in sevens rugby

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Kenyan players celebrating after stunning Fiji in the 2016 Singapore Sevens final

Kenyan rugby sevens team made national history by winning the 2016 World Sevens Series tournament in Singapore. While Kenya has had a strong rugby sevens team, winning this tournament against all rugby powerhouses was a huge achievement. Kenyans will now have high expectations for the team at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Rugby sevens will feature for the first time.

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Nigerian musicians getting famous abroad

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Traditionally so called “world music” has had its followers in western countries, providing many African artists opportunities to tour other continents, yet remaining niche artists outside their home markets. Over years, numerous African artist that have made name all over world, Ali Farka Toure, Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, and Youssou N’Dour, to name few. Not mainstream, but still well recognised artists. These represent older generations of musicians, many of whom have passed away. They are being replaced by new generation of musicians, performing modern music styles. Most popular of them tend to come from Nigeria.

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Lions killed as human-wildlife conflict increase in Kenya

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Recently there have been number of news reports of lions straying from Nairobi National park into city estates. One such incident led to a serious mauling of a man. While lions straying off the park is not unheard of, it is obvious these incidents are on the rise. This is attributed to increased human activity around the park, particularly building of the Southern Bypass road. Matters will only get worse when the Standard Gauge Railway will pass through much of western parts of the park. After this there will be only more pressure to degazette the park, seen as a prime land by many developers.

So far strayed lions have been returned to the park, but the latest incident saw a lion being killed by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers, sparking international headlines. The day after this, another incident saw Masai morans (a term for a Masai warrior) kill a lion by spears after the lion had killed a cow.  The park has just over 30 lions, so killing of these will have a significant negative effect on the population.

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Lions at Nairobi National Park

Elsewhere in Kenya, there were widespread news of lions being killed near Masai Mara last year.

Increasing human habitation near parks and encroachment will inevitably lead to more human-wildlife conflicts around Nairobi NP and other parks in Kenya. Elephants trample fields destroying crops, while lions and other predators kill livestocks, and in the worst case, humans. For rural poor people, wildlife is a nuisance, not an asset (unless they engage in poaching). They are not the ones who benefit from tourism. While foreign tourists bring plenty of money to the country, most of it goes to few hands.

Pastoral Masai have lived among wildlife since long times. They are used to kill wildlife to protect themselves, but in a sustainable way. But not anymore as their population and amount of livestock have grown rapidly. Unfortunately Masai do not kill wildlife only to protect their safety and livelihood, but also use it as political tool.

Local people have the right to protect themselves and their property. National parks are there so wildlife can thrive free of significant human disturbance. But being isolated in relatively small parks has significant negative effects on population ecology. There will always be wildlife outside the parks where they pose a threat to local people. Consequently, managing human-wildlife conflict properly is really important, despite being a difficult issue to deal with.