THE ROLE OF WILDLIFE CORRIDORS IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
Land fragmentation represents an obstacle to maintaining ecological connectivity and viable wildlife populations. Reduced landscape connectivity and impeded movements may result in higher mortality, lower population viability and lower production leading to smaller populations. In view of their great mobility and extensive spatial requirements for survival, large mammals are vulnerable to fragmentation effects.
The fragmentation effects result when animals within populations are unable to cross to connecting habitats, access mates or other biological requirements. These effects have underscored the need to maintain and restore essential movements of wildlife species particularly those with high traffic volumes, it is for this reason that wildlife corridors are constructed
CORRIDORS AND USE OF CAMERA TRAPS FOR MONITORING AT OL PEJETA
Wildlife corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures such as roads development or logging. This allows an exchange of individuals between population , which may help prevent the negative effect of inbreeding and may moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation.
The OL Pejeta conservancy have well modified wildlife corridors classified according to their width in directly proportional to size and number of animals using it. All animals are free to more in and out of the conservancy by way of specially constructed game corridors that only restrict the movement of rhinos knee high post in the ground, situated very close together present no challenge for elephant rates, antelope and carnivores that are easily able to jump or step over. Rhino are unable to do this and as a result are restricted from moving into area where they are in danger of being slaughtered for their horn it also operate a successful livestock program which serve to benefits local pastoralist and wildlife.
The OlPejeta conservancy have got three constructed corridor located on the Northern part of the conservancy with the reason being that to the Southern part of it there is small scale farming taking place by the local communities inhibited the area, the northern corridors enable dispersal of wildlife to the greater Laikipia ecosystem thus increasing their probability of survival and range while at the same time reducing pressure on the conservancy.
Advantages of the corridors
· -They allow the wild animals to have the freedom of movement in and out the other protected areas such as Mt. Kenya National Park, Mutara ranch, Solio ranch
· -They help prevent inbreeding of animal in order to acquire strong genes from other species of animals away from the protected area
· -Helps the conservancy to acquire species of animal that they don’t have on their records of wild animal species of OlPejeta through the aid of the camera traps
· -Help elephant from breaking the fence thus promoting good wildlife management techniques
-Help in developing the checklist of wild animals within the protected area this is done through monitoring the foot prints of the wild animals in the process of animals moving in and out of the protected area, and through the images captured by the cameras which operate even at night
Although game corridor has numerous advantages there are still some challenges in line with the management such as:
· -Competition for natural resource such as food, space, cover and water
· -Disease reservoir for livestock example zoonosis transmission of disease can be from livestock to wild animal
· - Livestock predation example is lion predating against cow
Wildlife corridors are not proposed as mitigation for loss of core habitat. However, with careful planning and design, wildlife corridors can help reduce the negative effects of habitat fragmentation by allowing dispersal of individuals between large patches of remaining habitat. While additional study on the efficacy of wildlife corridors is necessary, some general principles of evaluation and design are available and should be implemented. Monitoring the use of corridors by target wildlife species is an important step in corridor planning, to allow for adaptive management.