In Garissa County, the communities occupying areas along the river Tana have transformed from nomadic pastoralists to farmers. The farm owners use water from the river for irrigation. Emergence of farms along the river has led to the blocking of giraffe water points hence giraffes have to force their way to the river through the farms.
To keep the giraffes away the farmers use snares, pitfall traps and any other possible way just to keep their mango farms safe from giraffes as they say the mango flowers have become giraffes’ favorite.
The increase in farm land in the area has also led to the reduction of natural giraffe range leading to giraffes invading farms and destroying crops.
Caught up at the center of the conflict is the Garissa giraffe sanctuary hosted by the Bour Algy village. The sanctuary which is south of Garissa town was set up to host internally displaced reticulated/Somali giraffes that were displaced during the Kenya/Somali border skirmishes. Lack of clear ownership policy of the sanctuary has led to uncontrolled encroachment into the sanctuary. Local political interests have also crippled the implementation of possible solutions to the issues being faced by the sanctuary. The relationship between the various stakeholders has not been rosy due to various factors including religion, political territories and land ownership.
Our solutions to this stalemate mostly involve conciliation and reconciliation of the stakeholders themselves in order to ensure smooth implementation of the conflict resolution process by improving stakeholders’ relationships.
In partnership with the Garissa County Government and Kenya wildlife Service, we are assessing and identifying water access points along the river in every county ward where the river passes through. Other solutions include adopting a community based conservation model as a way to encourage sustainable farming and conservation simultaneously as insinuated by Dr Ali. “Involving the community in giraffe conservation matters will be help fill in the blanks when it comes to solving this human-giraffe conflict hence we are determined to work with them to ensure a long-lasting solution is arrived at.” Through the train. Having the guidance of the Center for Conservation Peacebuilding, Dr. Ali is confident that together they will put an end to this conflict.