23-11-2019 by Leni Frau
The small and wonderful Kamnarok lake is at risk of drying up and crocodiles are the first to suffer, now a European project tries to save it and bring it back to its former glory.
The Kamnarok National Reserve is located 260 kilometres from Nairobi and was established in 1983. It is located about 25 kilometers from the landing strip of Lake Baringo and can be accessed by air or road. Lake Kamnarok is, however, at the base of the valley of the river Kerio. The name comes from the term Kalenjin Narok, which is not a definition of geographical or ethnic character but refers to a species of aquatic plant that was widely present in the lake. The lake is surrounded by dense vegetation which makes accessibility challenging.
The lake that once housed more than 10,000 crocodiles, was for a long time the second largest in Africa for this kind of population, after Lake Chad, 400 elephants with 13 other species of mammals.
More than climate change, in this case it is human activities that make the reserve a paradise to be visited in time before the drainage becomes eternal and no longer just seasonal.
The felling of trees for coal combustion and agriculture, as well as the invasion of hyacinth in the waters of the lake, pose a serious threat to the reserve.
The number of crocodiles has fallen to less than 3,000 and the situation is getting worse every year.
The shores of the lake are now covered with plant species, not only water hyacinth but also other types of vegetation.
The ecosystem was also home to 59 species of birds, but today most of them have migrated to other areas. The park is home to 600 elephants, but due to the drying up of the lake conflicts between man and wildlife have increased.
Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis admits that the lake is in danger of disappearing and urged everyone to work with the county government to save it. "The lake was once a tourist attraction, but today it is no longer visited by tourists," he said.
Hope for the revival of the reserve appeared after eight counties that make up the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) signed a climate change mitigation pact, which will lead to the preservation of the ecosystem of the Kerio River.
The Noreb project, nicknamed Community Resilience in Kerio River Ecosystem, seeks to involve shepherds and farmers in the counties of Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot by adapting their needs to the conservation of the environment.
The project funded by UK Aid will ensure that the institutions concerned harmonise their laws and work together on projects to reverse the effects of climate change.
Dominic Biwott, Managing Director of Noreb, said the pact will ensure that the region reverses the devastation of climate change and that communities can manage the area to their mutual benefit.
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