Impacts of Geothermal Power Station on Avifauna at Hell’s Gate National Park, Nakuru County, Kenya
Getonto, Abrahams John
MetadataShow full item record
Geothermal energy counts among renewable energies sources, with a long tradition, experience and great potential for the future. However, most of the geothermal power plants globally are located within important conservation sites where endemic and endangered species of birds inhabit. The presence of these geothermal power stations has an impact on biodiversity. The study was carried out between December 2015 to May 2016 within Hell’s Gate National Park. The specific objectives of this study were to (i) Study the composition of avifauna species, (ii) Analyse guild structures of bird’s species within the study area, and (iii) Assess the effects of geothermal power production on avian fauna within disturbed and undisturbed habitats. The study area was divided into four main habitats depending on terrain, vegetation, and distance from the geothermal power station. Point counts were performed at points closer to Olkaria Geothermal power plant (50 m-1 km) and control points (7-8 km) away. Forty-two (42) families composed of 68 genera and 99 species were studied in Hell’s Gate National Park. In undisturbed habitats, 39 families made-up of 65 genera and 96 species were recorded while 33 families, 51 genera and 71 species were observed in disturbed habitats. Only 30 families composed of 48 genera and 68 species were common in both disturbed and undisturbed habitats. The number of families, genera, and species are significantly lower in areas closer to the geothermal power plant. The dominant feeding guilds in the park are insectivore (2651) followed by omnivore (1171), and the least is nectarivore (112). There was a significant difference between the number of birds of different feeding guilds at 95% confidence limit with ANOVA (P = 0.0001). Pearson correlation showed a significant negative correlation between the level of threats and species richness. There was also a significant negative correlation between noise level and the total number of birds (r=-0.302, P=0.035). Due to the impacts of geothermal power production activities at Hell’s Gate National Park, bird species are declining. Therefore, it is recommended that KWS should enforce strongly the environmental laws in undisturbed sites so that no further human impact can affect the birds’ habitats.