Kenya has experienced a 70% decline in wildlife numbers over the last 30 years. Extinction now challenges iconic species like wild dogs, cheetahs, lions, rhinos and giraffes, not to mention scores of other smaller animals, plants and insects. 16 months ago, we were forecasting the extinction of several vulture species in the Country.
Only Laikipia and parts of the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro landscape have seen wildlife numbers remain constant over this same period. But we continue to lose species diversity.
Efforts are still underway to collect inputs to the formulation of the National Wildlife Conservation and Management Strategy for Kenya after a public participation meeting held in Nanyuki on Thursday the 22nd of June. Turnout was mixed, with no county government representatives from any of the northern counties. On Friday, June 30th, the Formulation Team was in Kisumu, and then proceeded to Nakuru on Monday, July 3 where further inputs were collected. The final public engagement will occur at the Coast, in Mombasa later this week.
These efforts are collecting important inputs into the themes and approaches that should be adopted as part of a national strategy.
So far, discussions have focused on 5 major themes: (1) Space for wildlife; (2) Human-wildlife conflict; (3) Partnerships that support wildlife conservation; (4) Benefit sharing; and, (5) Research and Development.
This new National Strategy has never been more important. It’s probably our final wake-up call to get national conservation actions right. The Strategy must parallel Vision 2030, and it must demonstrate real tangible benefits to Kenyans living with, or tolerating wildlife on their lands – not the lip-service that is paid to benefit sharing and compensation to date. It must shore-up Kenya’s protected area system, and get KWS back on track.
It is estimated that we may only have 10-12 years remaining to establish the underpinnings of a successful national wildlife conservation effort. After that, our populations of wildlife will be reduced to exotic zoos and isolated islands of private wildlife collections. By 2030, our human population will have increased to almost 65M citizens – a 42% increase from our population of 2015. Our life expectancy will have increased about 4 years. About half that population will be 15 years old or less, and more than half that total population will earn less than USD $ 2 per day.
What will this Strategy say about maintaining wildlife in contemporary Kenya against these overwhelming statistical facts? It’s up to us. Get engaged! Stay involved!
Find the latest DRAFT of the National Wildlife Policy here.