Coexistence is the key to survival of the Serengeti, Okavango Delta and Kalahari regions, some of the world’s most prolific wildlife ecosystems that are surrounded by fast-growing human communities. It’s no different in Laikipia.
Rural livelihoods depend on these forests, fisheries and rangelands, so effective and lasting conservation strategies must find ways not only to protect wildlife and the environment but also to deliver economic opportunities at local and national scales. In Kenya, for example, up to 65% of all wildlife is found on community and private lands, outside government parks and reserves, and wildlife tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry . . .
But both the economic drivers of wildlife conservation – TOURISM, (confounded by the Covid Pandemic), and the belief that WILDLIFE MUST PAY ITS WAY are compromised by a confused and emotional public.
This is the role of the Laikipia Forum – to harness collective action and economic innovation in service to the conservation and management of our natural resources.
Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program in the 1980s, helped pioneer the idea of generating community-level incentives for wildlife conservation through sustainable and locally managed use. But CONSERVATION is littered with projects that promised to make conservation profitable and beneficial to local communities but struggled to deliver. This includes Kenya, and Laikipia where LWF had its origins in consumptive wildlife use between 1994 and 2004.
But since, our East Africa region has been a source of fertile innovation for conservation efforts.
Two important trends are emerging in Kenya – KWCA as the voice of the new generation of conservancy movements and the Task Force Report on Consumptive Wildlife Use that calls for a new approach to our definition of wildlife, consumption and biodiversity conservation.
Today, it’s clear that it can be done: A “conservation economy” can create jobs and attract investment while protecting and sustaining the ecological wealth that peoples’ livelihoods depend on. A rising generation of African conservation entrepreneurs . . . is reframing conservation as a growth sector.”
This rising generation is celebrated in this story in the Stanford Social Innovation review.