Kenya elephants Erik Jepson/Flickr

Ériger des clôtures pour protéger les espèces

NAIROBI – Les pays africains sont souvent critiqués pour leur incapacité à relever leurs défis environnementaux. Les observateurs citent en particulier la disparition des habitats naturels face à la pression démographique, la dégradation des terres et l’industrialisation. Et surtout, la critique la plus courante est que l’augmentation du braconnage menace la survie d’espèces en danger comme les éléphants et les rhinocéros.

Le Kenya a toutefois mis en œuvre un important et novateur projet de conservation de la biodiversité. Entamé dans les montagnes Aberdare, au centre du pays, le projet Rhino Ark avait pour objectif initial de protéger le rhinocéros noir, en danger critique d’extinction, des ravages opérés par les gangs de braconniers. Ce projet est soutenu par ceux-là mêmes qui auraient pu s’y opposer : les communautés locales des régions agricoles limitrophes, parmi les plus productives du pays.

En 1988, des défenseurs de la nature décidèrent de financer et de construire une clôture électrifiée pour protéger une zone du parc national d’Aberdare jouxtant des petites exploitations agricoles. Cette barrière était destinée à prévenir les intrusions humaines et la dégradation de l’environnement naturel du parc. Mais elle a également servi à protéger les agriculteurs, dont les cultures étaient régulièrement détruites par des éléphants maraudeurs et autres animaux sauvages. Le fait que les paysans locaux accueillirent favorablement cette initiative influença la décision ultérieure d’étendre le périmètre de la clôture à l’ensemble de la chaîne des montagnes Aberdare.

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