The highlight of SFS programs is engagement of students in faculty guided research, which is based on an elaborate Five Year Research Plan. Students are given an opportunity to select a project of their choice in Wildlife Ecology (EP), Techniques of Wildlife Management (WM), or Environmental Policy (EP). In Kenya, the research work started at the end of November. Students are currently in the write-up phase, and are expected to finalize their papers on by December 10th.
The WE DR is evaluating the environmental status and water quality of the Noolturesh River in the Kuku Group Ranch which is experiencing rapid land uses changes in form of irrigated agriculture, an increasing threat to water quality and its sustainable use. On the other hand, the EP students and faculty are assessing land tenure and use changes in the Mbirikani Group Ranch, and its implications on local livelihoods, the environment and wildlife conservation. In last the couple of years, a number of private wildlife sanctuaries have emerged in the former Kimana Group Ranch after its complete subdivision in 2005. Nevertheless, there are concerns on their viability.
The WM research is therefore evaluating the ecological integrity and potential of the sanctuaries as wildlife dispersal and migratory routes outside Amboseli National Park. On December 13th, students will present their research findings to the Center’s stakeholders. Some of the invitees include local communities neighboring Kilimanjaro Bush Camp and where the students did their research, officers from government line ministries, the management of Amboseli National Park, owners and hoteliers in the private wildlife sanctuaries, community leaders, and the provincial (government) administration.