(Fred Barasa, Anthony Ochieng and Maaike Manten; 7 April 2017)
American industrialist, Henry Ford once said: “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.” Volunteer conservationists around Lake Bogoria in Kenya might not have heard him say this, but their passion of working together to care for their local important bird and biodiversity areas fully represent Mr. Ford’s statement.
Friends of Nature Bogoria is a group of passionate volunteers working together around Lake Bogoria to generate and share information with members of their community about the importance of preserving the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. The area is an important bird and biodiversity area and a key biodiversity area found in the Eastern Afromontane hotspot. Lake Bogoria is popular for hosting the largest number of bird species – 96 species of birds – seen in one hour in Kenya. Its water supports a dense bloom of algae and serves as an important foraging ground for flocks of the Lesser Flamingos bird species. This important wetland is also popular with its hot springs and wide range of mammals that include leopards, greater kudus, klipspringers and caracals.
The lake is a great attraction for tourists who come to see its beautiful scenery and desirable biodiversity. Lake Bogoria also presents opportunities for geothermal energy production, which is clean and renewable energy that emits fewer emissions of carbon dioxide gas. However, geothermal energy can also have negative impacts on the natural environment. It may affect water quality, and can lead to habitat loss for both plants and animals.
In order to ensure that any future development at the Lake Bogoria reserve recognise the need to protect and maintain the natural environment, Nature Kenya (BirdLife Partner in Kenya), with funds from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s Regional Implementation Team, has engaged local volunteers around the lake to ensure that environmental safeguards are respected and any negative impact from energy extraction is avoided.
“The major challenge is the threat of geothermal energy exploration……