The impact of changing land use patterns on the numbers and distribution of livestock and wild herbivores in the Tana River District, Kenya
The intent of this study was to examine the impact of changing land use patterns on the numbers and distribution of livestock and wild herbivores in the Tana River District, Kenya. A multi-method approach of aerial surveys, questionnaires, interviews and secondary data sources were employed to realize the objectives. Results indicate that changes in land use patterns and types have created conflicts that led to the reduction of the range and affected distribution of pastoral livestock and wild herbivores. Land use changes, such as irrigation are possibly responsible for reduction in the numbers and distribution of pastoral livestock and wild herbivores. Parks, reserves and ranches have also reduced the range of pastoral livestock. The creation of ranches has yet to affect wild herbivore distribution because of minimal development of the ranches but in future, wild herbivores may be affected. Other factors responsible for reduction in numbers include diseases and pests, drought and poaching. Poaching is directly responsible for the decline in elephant and rhinoceros populations. The droughts of 1979 and particularly that of 1984 also contributed to reductions in numbers of livestock and wild herbivores. Orma pastoralists attribute the curtailment of the grazing range of theii stock to the influx of Somali pastoralists. Overgrazing due to this influx and large herds of livestock have rendered some range areas bare. To alleviate the land use conflicts strategies recommended include: multiple land use practice; continued conservation of animals in parks and reserves; compensation of farmers for losses suffered; provision of corridors for access to grazing and watering areas; and allowing pastoralists into reserves during periods of drought.