Kenya elephants Erik Jepson/Flickr

Buenos cercos implican especies a salvo

NAIROBI – A los países africanos se los suele criticar por no cumplir con sus desafíos ambientales. Los observadores suelen citar la pérdida de hábitat frente al crecimiento demográfico, la degradación de la tierra y la industrialización. Y después está la acusación más frecuente de todas: que un incremento de la caza furtiva está poniendo en peligro a especies como elefantes y rinocerontes.

En Kenia, sin embargo, está en marcha un proyecto de conservación innovador y exhaustivo. "Rhino Ark", que comenzó en las montañas Aberdare de la zona central de Kenia y fue concebido originariamente para proteger al rinoceronte negro en peligro debido a los estragos de los cazadores ilegales, cuenta con el respaldo de las mismas personas que podrían haberlo rechazado: las comunidades locales en algunas de las zonas agrícolas más productivas del país.

En 1988, los conservacionistas decidieron financiar y construir un cerco electrificado para proteger una zona del Parque Nacional Aberdare lindera con granjas de pequeños agricultores. El cerco estaba destinado a impedir la intromisión de la población humana y la degradación del hábitat del parque. Pero también protegía a los agricultores, cuyos cultivos eran destruidos regularmente por elefantes y otras especies merodeadoras. Los agricultores locales recibieron con agrado la iniciativa, que influyó en la decisión de expandir el cerco para rodear el perímetro de toda la superficie de Aberdare.

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