Impacts of military training on the distribution and abundance of small versus large wildlife herbivores on Mpala Ranch, Laikipia, Kenya

Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, Kenya’s training grounds have become increasingly relevant to the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (BATUK). This has seen ranches hosting the army in Laikipia increase to eleven in 2009 from one in 1964 when training began on Mpala Ranch. This was necessitated by the need for BATUK to train in an area similar to and close to the warzone. Training in the region involves drills, use of fire arms and explosives, helicopters and other military aircrafts. On Mpala Ranch, training typically involved drills and the use of fire arms. They would be conducted  9 days every month for 3 months in a row. A break of 4 months followed, then two of training and another three of no training.

Whereas it is reported that the economic benefits of hosting the army for training have been enticing, concerns have been raised over the possible impacts of the war games on wildlife conservation and tourism (Wadhams, 2009). The trainings occur in Ewaso ecosystem (Georgiadis, 2011), which is home to half of Kenya’s black rhino (Diceros bicornis), second largest population of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the globally threatened grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) (Laikipia Wildlife Forum,[LWF], 2014). Consequently, this study aimed to provide the information necessary for informed decision making on the compatibility of military training and wildlife conservation.

Publish DateMarch 20, 2018
Last UpdatedJanuary 27, 2021
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