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offshorebirder

163 km electric fence in Laikipia County, Kenya

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I have mixed emotions about this:

 

http://citizentv.co.ke/news/ksh-300m-electric-fence-to-address-human-wildlife-conflict-in-laikipia-129930/

 

"The erection of a 163km multi-million electric fence in Laikipia has been lauded by residents who have perpetually complained of perennial human-wildlife conflict.

 

The 7,000 voltage fence, which will cost approximately Ksh 300 million, is funded wildlife stakeholders among them The Space for Giants – who will construct the fence, the British Army Training Unit – Kenya (BATUK), the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), Laikipia Nature Conservancy (LNC), Laikipia County Government, and the National Government."

 

 

*** Question: does anyone know more about this - especially the fence measurements? Will there be large enough gaps for smaller terrestrial creatures to pass through?

 

 

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My guess is that the fence will be built primarily to keep elephants and large herbivores out. It'll be tall, it'll have huge, long outriggers. If Space for Giants, LWF, and LNC are involved I would expect them to think carefully about the construction of the fence to allow smaller animals to still move around. Most of these fences are not an issue for the likes of warthogs and porcupines, who adeptly dig tunnels/trenches that all other small wildlife are happy to use. The animals that cause the most conflict with farmers are Elephants, Zebras, and medium/large predators. This fence will undoubtedly be designed to minimize their passage, but not "over-built" so as to save money.

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How might this effect the goat and cattle herders who wander through this area?

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How about wild dogs, how will they be affected I wonder?

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Thanks @@armchair bushman. As you say, Space for Giants and Laikipia Wildlife Forum are good eggs and that gives encouragement about the fence design and implementation. I hope it's better than some of the fencing around Mt. Kenya which was buried to prevent critters from tunneling underneath.

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@Safari

 

I certainly lack the expertise to answer @@SafariChick's interesting question about the effects of the fence on wild dogs. However, I would like to speculate:

 

Apparently, wild dogs reappeared in Laikipia after many years of absence and without having been deliberately re-introduced. Subsequently, they have thrived in the region. One might suppose that a fence would have reduced the chances of their reappearance had it been present at the time. I suspect that the very healthy numbers now present are ascribable to fact that these dogs seem to cope with much smaller territories than those that obtain in most other parts of Africa. Again, speculating, this may be due to one of two factors or to both. I think territory size will be determined by prey density and competing predators. Certainly, in parts of the region such as in the vicinity of Laikipia Wilderness Camp, there are enormous densities of dikdik, which form the principal prey of adult dogs out of the breeding season plus plenty of impala for supplementation when puppies have to be reared. Furthermore, lions haven't reached the densities seen in many parks and lions appear to kill dogs whenever they get the chance.

 

I may be talking rubbish and would welcome comments from those who know more about the subject.

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Heading off on a bit of a tangent here... To add to what @@douglaswise said (non-expert speculation on my part): it seems to me that the private game ranches in the Laikipia region would have less (unvaccinated) domesticated dogs present than places like the Mara and so canine diseases like distemper, parvo, etc. would be less likely to infect Wild Dogs in Laikipia than other E. African areas.

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@@douglaswise

 

just having returned after a weeks trip to Namibia and South Africa and now am catching up - doesn't sound like rubbish at all, that's exactly the same conclusion I came to you last year, after having returned from a six day stay at LWC: wild dogs are thriving in Laikipia because their preferred prey is abundant and lion numbers at the same time are low, because the farmers guard their cattle while the dominating pastoral use of the land does not allow the number of zebras and wildebeest to rise too high; however, as far as I remember, the territories of Laikipia's wild dogs are still huge

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