CS Najib Balala: Is the increase in Covid-19 related to the rise in game meat trade?

The CS for Tourism Najib Balala has called on KWS scientists’ team to urgently conduct research on the spread of Covid-19 against the rise in game meat trade.

With the Covid-19 cases on the rise in Nairobi and Kiambu where sell of bush-meat-trade is rife, Balala said that there were fears that this was related.

Speaking in Naivasha after inaugurating the Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) board, the CS noted that cases of bush meat in the country were on the rise.

“We have seen cases of bush meat trade rises and Covid-19 and we think this is related to the manner that the poachers are handling the meat and we are asking scientists to investigate this,” he said.

He noted that the pandemic had adverse effects on the wildlife and conservation adding that the newly launched Research Institute would help with more information.

Balala at the same time announced that Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) was in the process of forming a corridor from Nairobi national park to Athi-Kapiti plains.

He noted that individuals and institutions had already donated 47,000 acres to be used as a conservancy which would be linked to the national park.

According to him, a task force had already been gazzetted and given 60 days to come with ways on how the corridor would be constructed.

“The biggest challenge that will face this process is the human population in Athi River and Kitengela and this taskforce is meant to look into that,” he said.

On the reopening of the airspace, Balala exude confidence that the tourism sector would be on its feet by the end of the year with bookings in Mara and the Coast already on the rise.

“We are also happy with ongoing construction of a service bay at KWS training institute ahead of the World Rally Championship in July next year,” he said.

The CEO World Championship Rally in Kenya Phineas Kimathi exuded confidence that the country would host the event next year despite the cancellations caused by Covid-19.

“We expect that this service bay will be ready in 60 days and we are working with the rally organizers so as to meet all the requirements,” he said.

On his part, the PS  in the Ministry Professor Fred Sigor challenged the new board members of the Wildlife Research Institute to seek external funding.

“For years KWS did not have a research center but with the formation of the Wildlife Research Institute we expect more data and solutions to challenges facing us,” he said


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