Numerous conservancies within our landscape and beyond have been facing serious financial constraints. The first wave of the Covid pandemic hit these conservancies hard and the second and more recent third wave have only made this situation murkier.
The collapse in revenue generated from tourism has forced many of these conservancies to make budgetary cuts and as a consequence, some staff have had to contend with pay cuts while others have lost their employment.
Conservancies that rely on revenue generated from tourism activities to run their conservation activities (hiring of rangers, research, buying necessary technology to make ranger patrol easier et cetera), have also been forced to make budget cuts.
This situation curtails their conservation efforts as well as makes wildlife susceptible to poaching activities. Fortunately, in Laikipia, an increase in poaching has not been serious among the conservancies.
Over time, this decrease in revenue might also bring about various indirect impacts. For instance, communities living adjacent to these conservancies have always had an added incentive to protect and conserve wildlife and natural resources. This is because tourism activities help generate income for them, as native tour guides, through selling goods and services.
These communities might be forced to look for other ways to earn their living, this may include poaching, which has been decreasing over the last few years or farming and other land use activities that exacerbate human-wildlife conflict.
It might take years for these conservancies to fully recover. Experts estimate that the tourism sector might take up to three years to reach its pre-Covid figures in numbers and revenues.
We can all play various roles in the resuscitation of these conservancies.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
On last month’s issue of our Forum Focus, we highlighted Ol Pejeta conservancies plea for help. You can support them in their various programs, including their efforts to safeguard rhino populations by clicking on the following link.
East African citizens can now visit the conservancy for as low as Ksh 950!!
LTA Members Ol Pejeta Conservancy have incredible discounts on their entry fees
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy also has a campaign dubbed Lifeline for Lewa. This campaign ensures that Lewa can keep their core community programs running. This includes their security as well as their community development programme.
Click on the link to learn the various ways you can support their programs.