When people are willing stewards, wildlife flourish and communities thrive.
Kenya has lost nearly 70% of its wildlife during the past 30 years. Loss of space and connectivity and the increasing development pressures and impacts of climate change is threatening Kenya’s iconic wildlife, its multibillion tourism industry and livelihoods for rural communities.
Conservancies offer hope. A wildlife conservancy is land managed by an individual landowner, a body or corporate, group of owners or a community for purposes of wildlife conservation and other compatible land uses to better livelihoods.
With sixty five percent (65%) of Kenya’s wildlife live in community and private lands, conservancies provide connected landscapes that complement national parks and reserves while enabling communities to benefit from wildlife management and in turn be at the heart of championing conservation efforts.
In Kenya today, conservancies are a recognised land use under the Wildlife Act of 2013, making them an attractive land use option for communities and land owners as they offer improved land and resource rights and access to incentives.
By placing communities at the center of wildlife conservation and improving conservation incentives, conservancies in Kenya are securing livelihoods while reversing wildlife decline, resulting in the protection of Kenya’s iconic wildlife for future generations.
In the Maasai Mara, for example, 15 conservancies protect over 450,000 acres of a critical habitat for the great Serengeti-Mara wildebeest migration. This has seen the lion population double over the last decade and 3,000 household earn more than $4 million annually from tourism.
A similar success story is unveiling along the Coastal Region of Kenya where local communities are protecting endangered animals such as the hirola antelope, resulting in the doubling of the population of the endangered hirola in just three years (from 48 in 2012 to 97 in 2015).