Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Measures
The role of Community Wildlife Service in Kenya Wildlife Service is quite broad. Managing wildlife outside parks and reserves means that the unit has to physically interact with: members of parliament, Councilor’s, opinion leaders, rural communities, provincial administration, NGOs, Civil society, private ranchers and other relevant ministries at the grass-root level.
The following are the key functions for CWS
- Community education awareness creation, mobilization & extension services
- Provide policy and legislation direction outside protected areas;
- Establish practical mechanism for benefit sharing with relevant stakeholders through consultation, negotiation and consensus building;
- Offering wildlife technical services to private landowners, communities and County Councils etc;
- Providing required support for community (social & enterprise) projects;
- Establishing mechanism to minimize conflicts between
- To protect people and their property from injury or damage caused by wildlife.
- Facilitate wildlife compensation claims
Causes of human/ wildlife conflict
- Lack of a country land use policy, which leads to incompatible land uses
- Increase in population therefore encroachment onto historical wildlife areas, corridors, dispersal/breeding zones and buffer areas
Types of human/wildlife conflict
- Human Injury
- Human death
- Crop damage
- Property damage
- Livestock predation
- Human threats
Human/Wildlife Conflict Management:
Human wildlife conflict continues to pose a big management challenge to KWS. This is largely due to the increased human population and the lack of a national land use policy. In the current draft wildlife policy and legislation KWS is encouraging community participation and collaboration in managing wildlife resources through devolved structures. An important aspect
in developing a positive value of wildlife resource is to reduce the negative aspects of wildlife on human activities. Wildlife can be compatible to a greater or lesser degree with some form of land use, particularly pastoralism and ranching. However, densely settled areas & agricultural land are not compatible with many kinds of wildlife. In response to this, KWS has deployed the following management tools to avert the negative consequences of conserving wildlife or living with wildlife resources.
Erection of electric fences and other forms of wildlife proof barriers
This barriers are erected where they serve as appropriate solution to persistent problem of damage to agricultural crops to or to property or other threats to people’s livelihoods. KWS has erected fences along the perimeter of certain parks and reserves in order to minimize human wildlife conflicts. For example lake Nakuru National Park, Northern part of Nairobi National Park, Mt. Kenya National Park and Aberdare National Park. KWS has constructed and maintains a total of KM 1225 of electrical fences nationally with KM 888 within protected areas and KM 337 outside protected areas. Needs updating
The cause of human wildlife conflict is mainly the lack of a land use policy for the country. As a long-term plan, the government put in place a National Steering committee to review the existing policies and legislation for wildlife conservation in the country.
KWS also works closely with the provincial administration in dealing with the human wildlife conflict cases. Erecting and maintaining electric fences is an expensive venture. These are erected in consultation with the affected communities and funding support from the government and prospective donors.KWS also encourages communities to employ alternative methods of dealing with human wildlife conflict. Such as building of moats, trenches, natural fences using kay apple, pilipili etc
KWS - Community based initiatives includes: -
Education and Awareness Creation:
There are many extension approaches/ mechanism adopted by KWS to stimulate local people to participate and benefit from wildlife conservation. This includes direct visit by community officers to the target individuals, short training courses/ workshops to sensitize and educate local people, preparation and presentation of specific wildlife related messages at Baraza’s, organize exchange visits of the target groups to various wildlife areas, use of mass media in community education and sensitization programs and building capacity of local institutions and local communities to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility of the wildlife resource. This is a continuous process bearing in mind the emerging issues in Natural Resources Management.
Social support programs
The principle is to give incentives to the local people who live in wildlife areas (dispersal area, & corridors) and who tolerate wildlife and, bear the cost of wildlife conservation. The cost borne may be in form of damage caused by wildlife or of “ opportunity costs” lost such as not cultivating, not fencing or practice incompatible land use systems.