Kenya’s conservancy network response to COVID-19
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic is causing unprecedented health and economic challenges globally. In Kenya, the wildlife conservation sector is already experiencing a complete standstill of the tourism industry. The ability for community led conservation that is built around the global tourism industry is under threat. We are actively monitoring the situation and have adjusted our programs and activities to conform with best practices recommended for managing this global pandemic.
Here is how we are responding to COVID-19 at the National Level
- Our staff is working mostly from home and in the office only for essential duties.While we stay at home, KWCA Board and Management Team are fully engaged, working to identify partnerships and actions that will respond and sustain conservancies, we are more committed than ever, driven by the belief that we will overcome this challenge and use it as an opportunity for a more sustainable future
- We are sharing relevant information to ensure our far flung conservancies have the right information on the COVID-19 situation, below we share relevant sector leaders’ assessment and recommendations, read and stay informed;
- We are encouraging our conservancy teams to support government efforts to contain the pandemic
- We are engaged with our landscape level conservancy associations to develop and implement conservancy survival strategies specific to each region, identify budgetary deficits and ensure as a priority the work of conservancy rangers and land leases are scaled and sustained through the period;
- We are engaged with our development partners to share plans and adjustments needed to ensure the right level of resources are made available for the neediest conservancies, while unlocking new funds for COVID-19 preparedness;
- We are engaged in high level government processes to ensure our collective conservation effort is coordinated at this difficult time, we know, difficult moments are an opportunity for growth;
- We are partnering with the Ministry responsible for wildlife matters, to ensure wildlife is recognised as a key sector to be included in government COVID-19 response and recovery funds, including establishment of a community conservation support fund to ensure community rangers continue offering their services and are protected from coronavirus infections
- We see this situation as a challenge but also an opportunity. We are working with thought leaders to co-create future financial and diversification models for more sustainable conservancies and better future responses to pandemics.
At a conservancy and Landscape level, here are some responses to COVID-19
- NRT member conservancies has developed simple guidelines for the prevention and management of COVID 19 and has disseminated to conservancy management teams about preventing and dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in conservancies. Read the guidelines here
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy have developed an urgent emergency appeal to keep the rhinos and other wildlife safe and to enable them continue their community outreach work. The appeal is also meant to keep their personnel employed and provided for before tourism fully recovers. Click here to learn more about the appeal
- Nashulai Maasai Conservancy has created an emergency appeal to mobilise resources to communities around the conservancy. They are also using social media to create awareness on the plights of the Corona virus. Learn more here
- Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps within Ol Kinyei Conservancy (Maasai Mara) and Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli) is bringing its wildlife a little closer by sharing daily wildlife sightings on their facebook page and website documented by their expert safari guides and conservancy warden.
- Cottars Camp situated in Olderkesi Conservancy in Mara, has developed a coronavirus bookings policy appealing to their clientele to postpone and not cancel their safari’s. Read the policy here and Emergency appeal here
Please keep us updated about how you have had to adapt your work as a result of COVID-19, what measures are needed during the emergency and recovery period. It is important for us to share our learning and innovations with each other during these difficult times.