ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN WILDEBEEST AND CATTLE AT KAPITI RANCH, MACHAKOS COUNTY- KENYA

In Kenya both wildlife and livestock sector contributes 12% and 25% of country’s GDP respectively. Apart from this the two sectors play a major role in the livelihoods of many Kenyans through the provision of employment and earn the country foreign exchange.

 

Livestock and wildlife have co-existed for a long time since domestication started. Livestock and wildlife interact as a result of sharing common resources. It has been reported by many ranch managers that the population of wildlife in their ranches has continued to increase as a result of livestock rational grazing management system.

 

Even though such animals interact and share common resources, a number of challenges results such as pathogen transmission, competition for limited resources and predation. MCF is a disease of livestock transmitted from wildebeest and its seasonality is associated with wildebeest calving. This disease is fatal in cattle and its occurrence results in great economic loss due to death, emergency sale and slaughter. The MCF disease can affect all classes of animals.

 

This study was to assess the impact of MCF on cattle productivity in Kapiti ranch, Machakos county- Kenya. Primary data was collected via questionnaire administered to herdsmen while secondary data was obtained via discussions with farm personnel and farm records.

 

Despite the low level of education of herdsmen (81% and 19% attained primary and secondary certificate respectively) they were able to identify and recognize MCF with high degree of accuracy on the basis of clinical signs and history. The ranch experienced a high incidence of cattle mortality due to MCF during May to August. The estimated losses to the ranch as a result of MCF was  approximately 6.7 million Kenyan shillings in the year 2013 as a result of death and selling of cattle at low prices. The population of wildebeest at the ranch was also noted to be on the rise.