Uasin Gishu tops with the highest population of endangered grey crowned cranes


Uasin Gishu county led the survey with a total of 2,227 cranes in 78 identified sites

African Grey Cranes/Photo Courtesy

By Mahlon Lichuma

The population of grey crowned cranes has increased compared to the 2019 survey report.

According to the latest survey conducted across the 819 identified sites the highest population of  the the birds are to be found  in Uasin Gishu County.

The population of these birds is highly threatened by drought, conversion of native habitats to unfavourable uses, captive keeping, egg collection and poaching and thus there is need for a wildlife regulations review to ban licensing of globally threatened species while those in captivity are mandatory registered and closely monitored.

In 2019, the number of surveyed sites was 300 which has increased to 819 across 34 counties of the 47 and the pre-selection site survey was guided by the crane’s habitat preference as cranes dominantly occupy the wet fields and crop field habitats.

Nearly half the population of the bird was reported to be in Uasin Gishu, Nyandarua and Trans Nzoia counties with 4,026 out of the 8,334 and the rest are distributed in Laikipia, Kiambu, Nakuru, Homabay, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet.

According to the survey report, a wet season survey is highly recommended to help map the breeding sites and estimate the number of breeding pairs.

Uasin Gishu county led the survey with a total of 2,227 cranes in 78 identified sites then followed by Nyandarua county with 969 cranes from the 36 identified sites and the largest single flock being spotted in Maji Mazuri Uasin Gishu.

International Crane Foundation (ICF) in collaboration with Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCO) have been conducting a crane ringing exercise for the endangered species in Several Counties in Western Kenya  Nandi, Transnzoia and Uasin Gishu among others.

In 2015  the National crane population was estimated  at between 10,000 to 12,500 individuals.

Vivian Kitui of the International Crane Foundation (ICF) notes that there is need for more awareness on the need to conserve the East Africa Grey Cranes that are on the verge of extinction.

“The East Africa Grey crane  is only  found  in Kenya  , Uganda ,Rwanda  among   few East African Countries, it’s  a beautiful bird , that has  been used  as  an emblem for  a Number  of  Institutions  such as  Nairobi University ,it is also found in the  Ugandan Flag and therefore it’s a rich  heritage  that  should be  conserved  for  future generations” Said Kitui.

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