An industrialized Kenya will still need wilderness and natural forests to suck up carbon and release fresh air and clean water, and parks and reserves to safeguard its unique natural heritage.
Tourism accounts for over 12% of the nation’s GDP and employs over 300,000 Kenyans. As a mainstay of tourism, wildlife is a key driver of the economy.
Benefits from Conservancies ranging from improved security, better land management, income, employment and support to community projects have encouraged the growth of conservancies to over 140 spread across 22 Counties covering over 7.5 million acres.
Legal recognition of conservancies is vital for conservation of wildlife on private and community land in Kenya.
What is the history of wildlife in Kenya?
The last 30 years have seen significant declines in wildlife across Kenya. Habitat loss, grazing competition with livestock, and illegal poaching have resulted in the decimation of important species and habitats. These threats combined with the proliferation of small arms and the associated rise in insecurity, have led to steady and persistent declines of wildlife in northern Kenya. Threats to elephants, and other species rhino and giraffes, are of particular concern.
What is wildlife conservancy?
A conservancy is land set aside by an individual landowner, body corporate, group of owners or a community for purposes of wildlife conservation (Wildlife Act 2013). Following the enactment of the Wildlife Act, wildlife conservation is now a recognized form of land use.
In the early 1970s, the first non-state protected areas, later to be referred to as Conservancies were established by private and community landowners.
Solio ranch, Taita Hills sanctuary, Kimana wildlife sanctuary and Ol Chorro Oiroua ranch were among the pioneers. During the mid and late 1990s, majority of current community and private conservancies were established. Although majority of these conservancies were individual initiatives, the Policy environment created by Kenya Wildlife Service and the support by Conservation organization and tourism investors provided a platform for Conservancies to develop. (source: KWCA website)