Capacity Building on Avian Fundamentals at Maasai Mara University, Narok, Kenya

A hand-on ornithology session was recently hosted by the Maasai Mara University’s Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management (School of Natural Resources, Tourism and Hospitality). It was conducted on Friday 3rd September 2021 by staff of the National Museums of Kenya – Ornithology Section in collaboration with Nature Kenya.

The inter-disciplinary sessions, drew in students pursuing diverse courses in Forestry and Wildlife Management; Tourism Management; Animal Health and Production; and Environmental Studies. The students (masters, degree, diploma and certificate levels) gained practical skills in bird identification, capture and release techniques among others. These competency-based skills are vital as they mainstream knowledge on avian (wildlife) population dynamics; avian geo-spatial and temporal distribution; animal welfare and wildlife disease surveillance; avian tourism; and ecosystem health. These skills add to achievement of the National Wildlife Strategy 2030National Tourism Blueprint and the a myriad of UN SGDs.

This event opened opportunity for peer-to-peer leaning among students; leveraging of institutional synergies; inter-generational learning and trans-formative leadership. The practical sessions also sort to nurture and encouraged female students to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030. The attendees applauded the event as it gave them a new scope of thinking about conservation, employment opportunities an critical thinking skills. Over 55 bird species were identified within the university during the practical fieldwork session including 3 species of Palearctic migrants.

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