World Wildlife Day 2017: Strengthening Wildlife Conservancies to Reduce Wildlife Declines
Posted: 3rd Mar 2017 12:45:00 AM
As we celebrate World Wildlife Day on Friday 3rd march 2017, We reflect on a research article released in September 2016 by the Directorate of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) titled Extreme Wildlife declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in Kenya: What are the Causes? The analysis showed a massive decline of wildlife numbers estimated at 68 percent from 1977 to 2016. The Wildlife losses is of great concern to the country which is likely to affect the tourism industry in Kenya impacting thousands of livelihoods.
Protecting our biodiversity through Conservancies
The research analysis highlighted the fundamental cause of the wildlife declines to be policy, institutional and market failures. The analysis proposed policy, institutional and management intervention through strengthening and investing in community wildlife conservancies in the rangelands as the solution in reducing the declines and restoring rangeland health.
"Wildlife conservancies have had some tangible success in Kenya, associated with direct economic benefits to poor landowner households, poverty alleviation, rising land values and increasing wildlife numbers within the conservancies. As a result, conservancies are fast emerging as the centerpiece of natural resource conservation on the rangelands"
KWCA through the Community Conservancies Support Implementation Program supported by USAID Kenya and The Nature Conservancy, facilitates communities and landowners to participate in policy review processes and benefit from better access to policy information and incentives. The program objective is to conserve Kenya's biodiversity through policy interventions resulting in inclusive and resilient development of community conservancies. The program seeks to address policy barriers inhibiting development of conservancies by promoting supportive legal environment that encourages sustainable and beneficial conservation.
Youth involvement in Conservancies
World Wildlife Day 2017 themed Listen to Young voices encourages young people to do one thing to protect wildlife for the sake of future generations. Young people comprising 65 percent of the Kenyan population play a crucial role in the future of the country's national heritage.
KWCA recognizes the role young people play in conservancies and seeks to influence inclusion of women and youth in decision making processes in conservancies. "Youth involvement is a key pillar to the sustainability of conservancies". Says KWCA CEO, Dickson Kaelo. "It has been determined that engaging the youth is one of the best ways to increase wildlife security in the conservancies as younger members can act as effective and efficient wildlife scout and at the same time help in improving their livelihoods."