Wetlands in Kenya on the Edge of Extinction

Kenya’s World Wetlands Day marked a special day for the Kenyan Conservation agenda and initiative that if upheld would safeguard the environment and the water sources going extinct in turn aid humanity and wildlife.

As the important day is marked, it will be a lie if the truth about human activity slowly leading to their diminishing is not expressed and addressed. Kenya is indeed blessed to have several wetlands from the Yala Swamp in western Kenya to Lake Ol’ Bolossat in Central Kenya and the seasonal wetlands of Dakatcha Woodlands in Kilifi.

The majority of wetlands lack formal protection, except for the few that fall in protected areas. With the current lack of institutional management and formal protection, these wetlands are at the mercy of developers and the potential loss of these delicate ecosystems and the invaluable ecological services they provide.

Wetlands have continuously over the decades proven to be the most productive ecosystems in the world, offering habitat to host fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insect species, also play the role of filtering water, storing carbon, controlling erosion as well as regulating floods.

Nandi Wetlands in Kenya

However, these wetlands are facing the challenge of extinction as most of them are placed on private land which is a barrier to their conservation conveniently. This has seen most of the wetlands encroached on by investors, as others involved in farming on the wetlands which severely affects the environment.

Climate activists have thereby called on the government to put in place policies that will ensure recognition of water, biodiversity, and tourism as valid land uses would go a long way in saving these critical resources.

Citing the essentiality of the Yala Swamp as Kenya’s largest freshwater wetland from which the community benefits extremely from sourcing water, fish, firewood, and raw materials. Not forgetting the key role that Yala Swwamp plays which is ecological as it filters the water flowing into Lake Victoria.

However, it currently faces possible destruction and intrusion as pollution has increasingly been a factor within its surrounding, even though a major risk is a proposition by the National Land Commission (NLC) to allocate 6,763.74 ha of the wetland to Lake Agro Kenya Limited for commercial farming.

Hereby a call on the communities around the wetlands in Kenya to uphold the protection of these natural surroundings heartily since with their extinction it’s the humans, wildlife, and ecosystems that will suffer the most.

Leave a reply