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KWCA, Conservancies and Conservation

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There are 160 conservancies now registered with KWCA in the country. They cover 11% of Kenya’s land mass or about 6.36 million acres. There are 12 conservancies registered with the KWCA in Laikipia – Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi, Loisaba, Sosian, Lewa/Borana, Ngare Ndare, Il Ngwesi, Naibunga, Lekkuruki, Mugie and Sangare.

76 of the registered communities are on community land, and 58 are on private lands. 72% of Kenya’s population of Southern White Rhinos and 45% of Kenya’s Black rhinos are found in these conservancies and 90% of the world’s population of Grevy’s Zebras.

KWCA is a vital organization – giving voice to the conservancy movement and credibility to the future of conservation outside of parks and reserves. But the conservancies are conservancies in name only. The regulation implementing conservation as a land use, and embracing it in law, is still pending. You can read the latest version of the DRAFT regulation here:

Just how many of these conservancies are ready to take on the weighty set of responsibilities enshrined in this regulation? Here’s what all land (private and community) dedicated to wildlife conservation must provide to the Government in order to register:

(1) Concept proposal made by the applicant;
(2) Size of land and land ownership;
(3) Ecological viability, currently or potential;
(4) National land-use plans and county spatial plans;
(5) Proposed governance and benefit sharing plans
(6) Socio-economic viability;
(7) Assessment and inventory of biodiversity contained therein; and
(8) contiguous land use patterns and their effect on the proposed conservation plan of the conservancy

Upon submission of your application to KWS, (accompanied by a fee) you will receive a certificate of registration. The Certificate of Registration is renewable every 10 years, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. KWS will also maintain the registry of conservancies.

Within 3 years of registration, you will be required to submit a Management Plan for the territory. You must also submit an annual progress report on core activities. This must include the number ranks and identify of wildlife scouts, incidents of human wildlife conflict, and any incidents that have a “serious” bearing on conservation.

The County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees in each County where conservancies occur (28 of them) are responsible for monitoring the conservancies in each county. Their additional tasks include mediation and arbitration of disputes, oversee the preparation of management AND implementation of management plans, and carry out other duties as assigned by the KWS.

To date, there is still not evidence of clear, substantive incentives and/or benefits for establishment of your land as a conservancy.

Are we ALL ready for this?