By: Haldoor Mohamed Egge Kille
Somalilandsun – “The environment is affected by natural factors and man’s activities as he seeks to ensure his well-being. In essence, these activities may be called the process of development. When the process is such that it takes into account also of the effects on the environment, and thus provides for well-being and viability in a sustained manner, it constitutes management of the environment”.
(UNEP’s definition of environmental management)
Thirty years before the turn of the 20th century, the North East Corner of the continent –the Horn was one of the world’s most interesting and prolific wildlife regions, an area where the contrasting beauty of the mountains, steppe and plains of Africa were enhanced by varied and interesting Fauna and Flora which the hand of man had laid only lightly.
Today, particularly in the Republic of Somaliland, large areas have been devastated by gross overstocking and fuel-wood extraction, which has caused the destruction of the vegetation and exposure of the land to erosion. The habitat for wildlife has been destroyed over large areas and humans with their domesticated animals and charcoal traders compete for the remaining forage.
The larger mammals such as the an elephants and black rhino have gone with the Giraffe and the topi, many others such as the Somali Wild Ass, the Oryx and Soemmerings gazelle, which formerly roamed the plains in their thousands are now reduced with the uniquely important Dibatag (Amodorcus clarkei) are now reduced to remnant populations, whose continued survival is unlikely unless action is taken for their preservation. Lions are almost extinct while leopard may now be considered as extinct, their destruction by poison has raised serious biological problems as their favoured prey, the warthog and the baboon now increase without check. The baboon in some areas denude the bush of the wild-fruits sought after by humans as well as birds and small mammals, while their destructions of the eggs and young of birds is even worse. (B.J. Hartley 1973)
“……………….it is now generally accepted that the physical well-being of people everywhere depends upon the way they use their natural resources. There is abundant evidence to show that the abuse or neglect of soil and reckless destruction of productive forest cover have contributed to the downfall and extinction of whole civilizations”.
B. Bush (FAO, 1971).