Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Tourism and Wildlife Dr Alfred Mutua has announced plans to ease the process of registration of conservancies with umbrella Conservancy Associations and Kenya Wildlife Service to make it easier for communities to get support from development partners.

”Privately run wildlife conservancy is a model that has worked well for Kenya and the government will support all initiatives critical in the running of established conservancies,” CS Mutua said.

Wildlife conservation and community involvement in the venture has today marked a milestone with the Mara Wildlife Conservancy Association celebrating  ten years since its inception. The association brings together 24 conservancies in the Mara and it’s a corner-stone in bridging the gap  and creating greater collaboration between communities and conservation groups.

CS Mutua acknowledged that conservation is facing immense challenges due to diminishing space for conservation as a result of increasing human population and human activities. He said new strategies that will ensure a balance between human populations and wildlife conservation need to be developed.

“We pride in wildlife conservation because Kenya is re-known as a wildlife safari country. To partly address the expansion of space for conservation, working with local communities through the conservancy model of conservation is paramount. I therefore, wish to commend the local community here for being steadfast in supporting conservation by providing their land for conservation,” CS Mutua said.  

He further said that the government encourages communities to co-exist with wildlife but it’s aware of challenges posed to human life and property by wildlife. He said Human-Wildlife conflict is the biggest challenge  facing conservation at the moment and in July this year payments of more than Ksh908 million as compensation for victims was commenced.

“The ministry has also received Ksh1.1 billion this financial year and an additional Ksh800 million to run the compensation scheme through a scheme administrator,” the CS said.

He added, “In a nutshell the ministry targets to clear all the pending compensation claims by 2026. We also want to make it clear that compensation is only a way of consoling victims and our prerogative should remain as the control of the human-wildlife conflicts from happening.”

To reduce wildlife-human conflict, the ministry is undertaking several measures including putting up fences around conservation areas  and  strengthening  KWS to enhance its responsiveness.

CS Mutua further promised to support local community conservancies in Kenya by providing water and road infrastructure.

“We hope to expand that scope to ensure that we provide more support going forward. This year we have set aside close to Ksh500 million towards this initiative as part of our administrations commitment and testament of the commitment of the Government of Kenya to involve and put local communities at the center of conservation of our valued wildlife and biodiversity,” he said

Speaking of resource-sharing, Dr Mutua said his ministry will ensure that there is equitable sharing of natural resources by involving local communities and opening up more areas for conservation.

“I want you to take note that wildlife is a fundamental component of the tourism sector because about 70% of total tourist earnings are directly or indirectly wildlife driven,” he said.