A new report documenting the condition of Kenya’s 60 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) has been launched. It shows an overall slight improvement in their conservation status, with the greatest progress being made at protected sites. However, this was offset by the continued deterioration of many unprotected locations. “This impressive report shows the importance of site protection for Kenya’s IBAs”, said Dr Leon Bennun, BirdLife’s Director of Science, Policy and Information.
IBAs are key sites for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity, and have been identified all over the world using BirdLife International’s objective and scientific criteria. Over 1,200 IBAs have been identified in Africa; many of which are threatened by habitat degradation and a lack of legal protection.
‘Kenya’s Important Bird Areas - Status and Trends 2007’ is the result of concerted effort by NatureKenya (BirdLife in Kenya), government environmental agencies and Site Support Groups (SSGs). It documents that thirty-five IBAs (58%) are under the protection and management of the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenya Forest Service, and shows that increased patrols have led to a substantial reduction in the number of illegal activities.
However, despite increased action at Kenyan IBAs, it is still too little to offset the ever increasing pressures. “The overriding threat to Kenya’s IBAs continues to be the increasing human demand for land, coupled with changes in land-use”, commented Dr Bennun.