Government Should Fund Wildlife Conservancies to Stem Wildlife Loss
Posted: 22nd Dec 2015 08:08:00 AM
Early this month, Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) gathered conservation leaders from all conservancies in the country for a two day National Conservancies Leaders Conference in Maanzoni Lodge, Machakos County.
The meeting saw the more than one hundred leaders from 96 conservancies come together to deliberate on different issues affecting conservation in the country as well as discuss some of the achievements made in 2015.
Under the theme "Sharing knowledge for a better tomorrow" the Conference was also attended by Benjamin Kavu, Deputy Director, KWS and was funded by GEF Small Grants program, WWF, The Nature Conservancy and USAID.
Speaking during the conference KWCA C.E.O Mr. Dickson Kaelo said this conference was a chance to give member a platform to talk about some of the issues affecting the different conservancies as well as share some of the success stories from them.
"This is the time for conservancy leaders to share the success they have made, to discuss the progress we have made as conservancies and also as a regional association. It is also a time to look back and see where we have come from and what the future looks like, a future is that will support our people, our land and wildlife for the benefit of the people of Kenya" Mr. Dickson said.
He added that the challenges facing our conservancies are huge, bigger than any other time in the history of Kenya. "Cases of wildlife poaching, settlement, infrastructure in conservation areas have been on the increase and we need to decide where we are going as a country because we have the solution". In the last 3 decades alone, human population has more than doubled and the government's effort to provide services often clashes with conservation. The country's wildlife population has also reduced by more than half bringing the tourism industry into stagnation.
"If we, the leaders in this room fail in our job to protect our land, trees, wildlife and microorganisms Kenya is going to fail. The success of Kenya depends entirely what we will do as leaders of conservancies, and Kenya Wildlife Conservation Association (KWCA)" he added.
Kenya's future prosperity as described in vision 2030 hinges on a healthy wildlife population dependent on a network of Parks, reserves and conservancies. A strong protected area network connected by open corridors and dispersal areas is the backbone of a strong tourism industry. According to the Tom Lalampaa, Chairman Kenya Wildlife Conservation Association, "Today, conservancies are diverse, both in size and governance structure. This diversity has put Kenya in the global map as an African leader in community based conservation".
Since wildlife Conservation is also a national function, Tom urged the government to support the works being done by conservancies. He said the government of Kenya ought to allocate more resources and provide incentives to support conservation of wildlife outside parks and reserves.
Conservancies play a very important role in wildlife conservation, something which Benjamin Kavu, Deputy Director Kenya Wildlife Service who also attended the meeting attested to. "It is a fact that areas where conservancies have been established, poaching is on a downward trend and this is why they need all the necessary support they need".