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Wildlife Industry Governance in Conservancies
Date Published: 15 Apr, 2013
For ages, the wildlife industry has been characterized by a fragmented approach in management by stakeholders and as such, there is no certain indicators our national stock. Critical assumptions advance that over 60% of our wildlife dwell outside the protected areas. Issues that affect conservation generally include human-wildlife conflict, wildlife insecurity, thinning space for wildlife, limited technical and financial capacity to manage wildlife, inadequate wildlife education and awareness and slow implementation of land use policies.
With appropriate incentives given to community and private land owners who adopt wildlife as a form of land use, and practices that are incompatible with wildlife conservation can be minimized or confined to suitable areas. This can be achieved through capacity building, education awareness and creation of synergies with the stakeholders.
It is within this backdrop that KWS has consistently trained over one thousand individuals - and counting- within conservancies and inhabitants of lands that host wildlife in a bid to build their conservation capacity as well as realize decent livelihood from sound environmental management. This has largely been on practical wildlife management strategies, basic paramilitary training as to standardize the chain of command and reporting procedures.
Documented wildlife security and regeneration of habitat has been largely been attributed to the deployment of graduates of the standard three month Community ranger training, particularly in the Northern Rangelands. They have stepped in as a force multiplier, providing critical buffer to the protected area system.
To sustain this trend, KWS in league with input from selected Conservancy personnel has developed a tertiary leadership curriculum offered at the Law Enforcement Academy, Manyani; designed to upgrade the Community ranger skills-The first ever Community NCO promotional Course conducted at KWS LEA in partnership with community wildlife conservancies. This elite group of trainees, graduated on the 10th April 2013 after the three month course building up to a Board interview with a dynamic panel chaired by Munira Bashir, HSC, Assitant Director and Head of Community Enterprise Development; The Commanding Officer Law Enforcement Academy, Manyani Mr. Dickson Lesimirdana; Mr. Tom Lalampaa Chief Operations Officer NRT (Northern Rangeland Trust) and Interim Board Chairman of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) and Mr. James Mbuthia from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
This inaugural class had 28 students. Of these, 22 are from the NRT consortium, 2 from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, 2 from Empaash Oloorienito in Kajiado, and one each from Elkarama in Laikipia and Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust respectively in the Chyulu national Park Ecosystem. Within the trainees rank and file was but a single lady Maryanne Kasainne who performed exceptionally well and emerged 6th in the validation ranking overall despite being the youngest at 21 years; equally outstanding was Peter Lempatu, a 26 year old pilot from The Northern Rangeland Trust who was the best trainee, sustaining his unbeaten record from previous training. The aim is to have their added skills and practical approach to wildlife management cascade to all conservancies in Kenya.
In line with Wildlife Industry Governance and as spelt out in the Strategic Plan, there is a call to establish standards within Conservancies and this has led to the founding of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, KWCA. The goal of KWCA is to provide a platform for landowners to directly and progressively participate in the wildlife sector in Kenya by employment of strategic engagement to Government and external stakeholders. The body by which all Wildlife Conservancies and lands that host wildlife outside the Protected Area System shall abide towards one voice and have a complimentary approach in the management of Kenya’s wildlife.