Status of Wildlife Conservancies in Kenya

Currently, over a hundred conservancies (113) are registered under KWCA. They includes private, group and community-based conservancies spread across 28 counties. This translates to 6.46 ha of total land covered by the conservancies.

Countrywide, the 160 conservancies have doubled the area under wildlife conservation to 15.8 million acres being under active management, 4,800 conservancy jobs have been created and a new low impact tourism product is creating income for the rural communities. The local people now access better schools, clean water and women give birth under the care of trained health experts.

In addition to playing a key role in contributing to Kenya’s development, these conservancies are home to some of the few remaining endangered species of animals across the world and hence their preservation is key not just to Kenya but on  global scale.

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    In Southern Kenya, for example, home to the iconic Maasai people and the great wildebeest migration, 15 conservancies have secured half a million acres of pristine habitat. The lions population has doubled and 3,000 households earn more than $4million annually.

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    In the northern rangelands, communities in 19 conservancies are more able to survive drought by accessing pasture and water in 44million acres of secure land. Conflict over pasture and water are reported to have reduced and less wildlife have been killed and for the very first time in many years rhinos are back into community land.

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    At the coastal region, rare and endangered wildlife like wild dog and the world’s most rare antelope the hirola are protected by local people. Today there are three times more hirolas in Ishaqbin conservancy than there were 20 years ago. Other endangered species such as the black and white rhinos, grevy zebras, giraffes and elephants are found on community lands.

County Snapshot

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    Kajiado County hosts the highest number of conservancies (24). Following closely is Taita Taveta County with 22 and Narok 17.

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    Although Marsabit County hosts only five (5) conservancies, they cover the largest extent (1.4 million ha), followed by Turkana County with four (4) conservancies at 1.04 million ha  and Tana River County, which has four (4) conservancies spread across  674,000 ha.

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    A majority of private conservancies are found in Laikipia covering a total of 150, 000ha while the largest group conservancy is the Mara North covering 29,000ha.

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    Malhkalaku Conservancy is the largest community conservancy covering 839,000 ha. This is followed by Melako (550,000 ha) and Lokichar (454,000 ha).