The Founder of the Kipsaina Crane and Wetland Conservation Group (KCWCG), Mr Maurice Wanjala, has received yet another accolade. He has been appointed Honorary Warden by the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service for the period 2011 – 2014. KCWCG is the African Crane Conservation Programme’s main partner inKenya.
Under the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, honorary wardens are expected to assist and advise the Kenya Wildlife Service on general wildlife and environmental conservation matters in their counties. To be eligible to be appointed as an honorary warden, one must have demonstrated outstanding commitment and innovativeness in wildlife conservation. The appointment is made public after a vetting process by a team of conservation practitioners and government officials. Maurice joins leading conservationists that have been honoured by the Kenyan government in recognition of their roles in conserving the country’s dwindling natural resources. On a more specific note, Maurice’s appointment is in recognition of his concerted efforts to sensitise local stakeholders on the urgent need to take action to arrest the decline in the population of Grey Crowned Cranes inKenya’s western districts. He has led the KCWCG for more than 20 years and has dedicated his life to saving the iconic crane species despite facing a wide range of setbacks over the years and sometimes operating with limited financial resources.
In 2011, Maurice spearheaded an expansion drive that saw the group reaching out to schools and communities around the KingwalSwamp in Nandi District. Through surveys conducted by his group between May – October this year, Maurice has confirmed that theKingwal Swamp supports at least 15 Grey Crowned Crane breeding pairs. Now known as the “Crane Man” by his peers in the conservation sector, Maurice’s popularity as a charismatic environmentalist continues to grow in leaps and bounds. He is also renowned for promoting community involvement in monitoring the Sitatunga and the De Brazza’s Monkey at Saiwa
SwampNational Parkand its environs. He has also played a pivotal role in harmonising relations between the communities residing around theSaiwaSwampand Kenya Wildlife Service staff based at the Saiwa Swamp National Park.