Nkiruka Chiemelu, International Relations and History (2004), Luce Fellow,
Summer 2003: "At Whose Expense? : Policy Formation in Wildlife
Conservation and Human Conflict in Kenya”
First and foremost, I would like to thank the Watson Institute for
International Studies Luce Fellowship Program for the opportunity for
their funding and support and giving me the opportunity to proceed with my research. Secondly, I would like to thank Winfred Nelson for his constant
support and guidance through the entire duration of my project.
Also invaluable to my research, the African Centre for Technology Studies
in Nairobi, Kenya and the International Centre for Research in
where I conducted most of my work and without the help of the Agroforestry
staff, I would not have been able to successfully complete my work.
The Kenya Wildlife Service for their staff which was unfailing in providing me with information on Kenyan wildlife conservation policy as well as taking the time out to address the issue of human-wildlife conflict as well as take me around the national park.
Benson Ole-Kituyi and the Friends of Nairobi National Park as well as the
Wildlife Trust for their aid in my research on the Kitengela dispersal region.
Daniel Morinke and the Amboseli Community Wildlife Tourism Project
for his assistance with my on-site research.
The Friends of Tsavo organization for providing me with assistance as well as their help in the parks.
Deborah Nightingale for her patience and assistance in providing me with useful contacts and helping me in steering my research on the right path.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the East African Wildlife Service, the
United Nations Environment Programme, the Ecotourism Society of
Kenya, the Kenya Community Tourism Network and the Inter Region
Economic Network-Kenya, all of which were all essential elements that facilitated my research.
Wildlife is a controversial yet beneficial renewable natural resource for Kenya, which is supports ecotourism, subsistence hunting, and cash cropping and marketing. Yet the sustainability and management of this resource is in danger due to poor government policies towards domestic investment in wildlife conservation as well as ineffective polices to alleviate community-wildlife conflict. The issue of human-wildlife conflict emerges as the main theme in this paper when analyzing polices to promote foreign private investment as parks that cannot effectively manage interaction between the local community and the wildlife often tend to fail in their objectives of providing a “sanctuary” for the animals. Often this results in poor international publicity as well as the reduction of foreign private investment. This paper seeks to investigate the attitudes, whether of acceptance or aversion towards various wildlife groups and how the management of game reserves in Kenya, run by private individuals and/or institutions, have placed a positive or negative impact on human-wildlife conflict as well, thus adding to the success of the reserve and encouraging more private investment.
Kenya is currently witnessing a paradigm shift with regard to the decision making process in its wildlife resources management due to the transition of government. The country is no longer under the long-standing one-party system dominated by the Kenyan African National Union (Kanu) political party, which was rife with corruption and policy mismanagement. Under the new National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) government, demand for citizen participation in the decision making process has increased to a point where it has been mandated by official policy. Thus, the attitudes and behaviour towards wildlife among local communities become key considerations in conservation policy formulation.
This change in attitudes towards wildlife is also as a result of the change in the higher levels of decision-making within the government. During the days of the Kanu government, the dominating conservation ideology exemplified by Dr. Richard Leakey, former director of the Kenyan Wildlife Society (KWS) from 1989-1994, employed a more preservationist approach to wildlife management that appealed more to foreign investors, specifically those in the West. After the transition in government, “Leakeyism” began to be seen as a
“European” view on wildlife management and private groups as well as the new government sought more “Kenyan” methods for conservation that would include community participation as a larger factor in the programs.
However, the new government faces two main challenges in their attempts to restructure wildlife organization as well as encourage private funding from foreign donors. The first involves the Leakyist ideology. In terms of foreign private investment, the Leakey view on conservation was more effective in
stimulating donor funding from abroad because of the staunch position he took on poaching. Yet, the Leakey view of conservation had the tendency to marginalize community involvement in policies concerning wildlife management and often these communities shared the same dispersal area with the game reserves.
The second major obstacle in the way for the new government is the rampant corruption that characterized the Moi administration and still plagues the new Narc government. Since the early 1990s, foreign direct investment as a whole 1 and the through the has decreased from 57 million $US in 1990 to 13 in 1996
kleptocratic officials of the national administration, the amount of donor funding that wildlife conservation receives had reduced dramatically as well. A history of policy mismanagement has inhibited KWS from receiving adequate funding to carry out its long-term projects. For example, in 1998 the surprise departure of KWS director, Dr. David Western resulted in the loss of millions of dollars pledged by various countries and wildlife conservation bodies for long-term projects. In the years of 1992 and 1997, when political unrest was at its most tumultuous, FDI to Kenya plummeted as a result. . Ever since, even despite the creation of a multi-party system and the peaceful transition of political power, foreign investment in Kenya has lagged due to the incapability and ineffectiveness of the government in its anti-corruption programs.
The human–wildlife interface surrounding conservation sites in Kenya is characterized by conflictive relationship between humans and their wildlife neighbours. Boundaries of conservation areas are often blurred and vague thereby creating conflicts in the land use patterns between the wildlife habitats and their surrounding areas, which are normally used for human settlement, pasture land, farmland, commercial and/ or other social functions. Occasionally often during migratory periods, wildlife invades and occupies the human inhabited land bordering conservation sites thereby preying upon, transferring disease to, and competing for grazing and water with domestic stock and threatening human life through physical injury or death and damage to crops and other private property.
The main focus of this paper is to investigate the policies that promote foreign investment looking directly at wildlife management programs and conservation sites that have been successful in wildlife sustainability through community service projects that allow for biodiversity within the conservatory areas. Using four case studies of KWS-run national parks, this paper will examine which policies are effective in promoting foreign investment in the field of biodiversity and wildlife management. The four national parks: Nairobi, Tsavo East, Amboseli and Aberdare were selected according to a
variety of criteria including: dependence on foreign private investment,
1 United Nations Development Program. Statistics and Data. FDI Inflows. 2002. www.undp.org.
active community-run programs, policies to alleviate community-wildlife conflict, success ratings (in terms of wildlife sustainability and community well-being) and fencing. While the first three serve as examples of successful programs, the Aberdare forest range is an ongoing case study of a national park where there have been no effect policies or programs as of yet to effectively check wildlife-community conflict.
Each park has taken its own approach to mediating human-wildlife conflict as well as stimulating foreign and domestic and private and public investment. Yet the four are all similar in that their objectives towards biodiversity and wildlife management:
; Reduction of poverty among the community populations
; Security of biodiversity in the desired ecosystem
; Sustainability of conservation amongst the community landowners
; Generation of income from wildlife through ecotourism through the
increase of direct benefits for the community
Community involvement is a large component of these parks as well as foreign intellectual and financial aid. Many of the programs currently active in the park are dependent on private donations of members, such as the Friends of Nairobi National Park (FoNNaP) and Friends of Tsavo (FoT).
These programs and others that highlight community building through the implementation of wildlife, create policies that work to change the actions of community towards wildlife from that of conflict to cooperation. These policies include:
; Awareness creation
; Facilitation of areas to be set aside for tourism
; Land holding rental
; Provision of water
; Payment for wildlife use of privately held lands
KWS is currently dealing with direct and rather publicized cases of human-wildlife conflict, the two most notably being the Maasai-lion conflict in Nairobi National Park and the fencing controversy in the Aberdare. In both cases, the government has failed to work with the community in order to deliberate a peaceful solution to the problem. Using the policy guidelines set by other programs in Nairobi, Amboseli and Tsavo, it might be possible to adopt similar policies in these two situations of human-wildlife conflict.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents v
Abbreviations and Acronyms vi
I. Introduction 1
II.1 Human-Wildlife Conflict 2
II.2 Foreign private investment 3
II.3 Ecotourism 4
I. Case Studies II
III.1 Nairobi National Park 5
III.2 Amboseli National Park 8
III.3 Tsavo National Park 11
IV. Current Issues
IV.1 Nairobi National Park 14
IV.2 Aberdare National Park 15
IV.3 Policy Recommendations 16
V. Observations and Conclusions
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
ACWTP Amboseli Community Wildlife Tourism Project
FDI Foreign direct investment
FPI Foreign private investment
FoNNAP Friends of Nairobi National Park FoT Friends of Tsavo
KANU Kenyan African National Union KCTN Kenya Community Tourism Network KWS Kenya Wildlife Service
NARC National Rainbow Coalition NNP Nairobi National Park
WF Wildlife Fund
UNDP United Nations Development Program UNEP United Nations Environment Program
Wildlife has always been the main attraction to Kenya as the country is synonymous with vast grasslands dotted with a variety of wildlife such as zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and lions. In the Western imagination, Kenya is an animal sanctuary as lions bask in the sun on large rocks while herds of wildebeest drink from a nearby watering hole, all with the ever-present Masaai warrior standing in the background, spear traditionally in hand. In reality, wildlife and wildlife conservation is a hotly debated issue not only for its implementation but also in the traditional role of the community as competitors and victims of the wildlife. Amidst the game reserves, safaris, poaching and illegal ivory and game meat bans, lies a long-standing and fundamental problem of human-wildlife conflict and community exploitation.
Originally the purpose of this study was the examine government conservation policies and how they are directed to encourage foreign private investment in the field of wildlife conservation and sustainability. Yet, as the subject of wildlife conservation is an active and controversial one, it is impossible to predict what route it will take once arriving on the field.
The human-wildlife conflict aspect of conservation is unavoidable when analyzing the success of conservation policies and government policies on dealing with such are sparse to nonexistent. Especially as conservation is mostly a private sector issue, government conservation policies have remained stagnant since the mid-1990s of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Wildlife conservation is no longer an issue of protecting the wildlife from human encroachment but rather creating an environment in which the wildlife can coexist along with the human populations living nearby.
In order to have successful wildlife biodiversity and sustainability, conservation societies and organizations must first address the issue of human-wildlife conflict as well as community exploitation in ecotourism.
Many private institutions both foreign and domestic have recognized this fact and are undertaking programs with the objective of providing benefits to communities through wildlife. The idea is to show that wildlife can be an asset to communities rather than a burden and danger.
The purpose of this study is to examine a select group of these programs in three of Kenya’s national parks (Nairobi, Amboseli and Tsavo) to see how they manage
human-wildlife conflict and use their policies to create a model for other parks and regions that are currently dealing with issues of community-wildlife conflict, namely in the Kitengela region of Nairobi and the Aberdare forest. As it is not feasible to completely separate humans from wildlife successfully in all parks, this study should hopefully provide insight into policies and practices that are successful in bridging the human-wildlife gap as well as promoting biodiversity. It is the hope that this will provide a cohesive and pervasive prototype of wildlife biodiversity management can
effectively work not only in Kenya but in other sub-Saharan nations that deal with similar issues of conservation and eco-tourism.
II.1 Human-Wildlife Conflict
Although some Kenyan researchers and conservationists have maintained that people bordering wildlife conservation sites hold negative attitudes towards wildlife, their observations lack empirical evidence and are largely a vestige of misguided colonial conservation policy in Kenya which depicted people bordering wildlife areas as the greatest threat to the wildlife resource, totally ignoring the fact that such people had lived with and conserved wildlife for hundreds of years. Yet, as the world and the country grows smaller with increased development and growing population as well as the change in government which has taken a more community-centered approach to conservation, human-wildlife conflict has become an issue of many shade of gray.
Opposition to accommodating wildlife on private land has often been wrongly interpreted to mean people have negative attitudes towards wildlife in Kenya. Yet it is the socio-economic activities including land use practices of people bordering wildlife conservation sites that determine whether or not co-existence is a workable conservation strategy, and argues that wildlife conservation approaches in Kenya must, as a matter of necessity, adapt to changing circumstances in areas surrounding the country’s parks and reserves. The consensus amongst most communities is that both people and wildlife are better off if wildlife has its own area in which to live, away from human settlement and activity.
Complaints of crop damage in the wildlife dispersal area surrounding Maasai Mara are a reflection of the changes in socio-economic activities of the landowners who were previously associated with strict pastoralism. Cultural transformation in Maasai land is largely affecting their traditional community values, perceptions about land use and patterns of land ownership. Communal land is rapidly being sub-divided and turned to private ownership, fenced and turned to from land or sold of to outsiders who in turn convert it to crop land.
It is clear that consensus among residents of both areas is that wildlife be kept within conservation sites to reduce conflicts with humans. Kenya Wildlife Service policies have often been criticized for being divorced from reality. Indeed, wildlife conservation in Kenya has been plagued by inappropriate policies for quite some time now. This study illustrates how people bordering wildlife conservation sites have often found themselves on the frontier of the organization’s policy conflicts and contradictions. Strong support for adequate and prompt compensation is evidence that those neighboring conservation sites expect relief from costs associated with living with wildlife. However, the Kenya Wildlife Service, without consulting the affected communities, scrapped the compensation scheme for all forms of property damage caused by wildlife about ten years ago. The apathy with which the
organization treats property loss and damage suffered by local residents is demonstrated by the fact that it no longer records cases of damage or loss of private property caused by wild animals. The corollary of such apathy is that most local residents not longer bother to report such cases. Essentially therefore, the situation translates to mean that individual landowners bordering wildlife conservation sites maintain, at a personal cost, a resource, which is managed primarily as a national asset.
Well over 70 per cent of Kenya's Wildlife is found outside protected areas. KWS, which is charged with the conservation of wildlife throughout the country, believes that conservation of wildlife outside protected areas cannot be achieved without addressing the needs and rights of communities coexisting with wildlife. Hence, a sustainable strategy of wildlife conservation in places where wildlife coexist with human beings is a major objective of KWS.
One of the main achievements of KWS on the community wildlife program has been the creation of awareness and the mobilization of communities to such an extent that, at present, people in dispersal areas are proposing wildlife conservation and utilization projects.
KWS provides training for selected community leaders and representatives in human-wildlife conflict areas. Under the working partnership that has been established, communities identify those individuals they consider to be reliable, and KWS trains them as community conservation scouts. This has not only relieved pressure on the skeleton KWS field staff but more importantly, it has brought about community participation in conservation.
In the past, communities were used to receiving and sharing KWS funds put at their disposal. KWS is now moving away from this and encouraging communities to come up with their own income-generating projects. The past one year or so has seen an encouraging increase in the number of such projects as opposed to social projects - a positive change from an earlier attitude of dependency on KWS.
A number of community-run game sanctuaries have been proposed and with KWS's technical assistance, these projects, now at advanced implementation stages, will form the first ever community run game parks in Kenya. They include the Golini Mwaluganje Community Game Sanctuary at the foot of Shimba Hills in Kwale District. Another community project is the Shimoni Nkwiro-Kibuvuni Fishermen Project. This is an artisan fishing project that will involve local communities in the preservation of the lagoon off Shimoni and Wasini Islands, as well as at the Mpunguti Marine Reserve south of Mombasa. Also the Ilngwesi Tourist Bandas, a community project to be constructed on an escarpment in Laikipia District in Central Kenya that will link the Ilngwesi community to the revenue from the tourist circuit of northern Kenya.
FOREIGN PRIVATE INVESTMENT
Under the Wildlife Development Fund Program introduced by KWS in 1990, community and enterprise development projects totaling K. shs. 54 million (US$ 981,800) have been approved and disbursements totaling K shs. 36,954,980 2(US$ 671,909) made.
KWS is not the only country investing in ecotourism. The USAID in partnership with the World Bank are providing a propelled multilateral funding to KWS for ecotourism in a number of projects. The majority of private organizations that run parks and programs at the KWS reserves are sponsored by foreign donors, usually NGOs. The Masaai Mara, the largest and most famous game reserve in Kenya, is completely privatized.
Dr. Chris Gakahu, a Kenyan ecotourism expert, says tapping the potential to the benefit of Kenyans and most other people in Africa is not going to be easy. He observes that while residents of the Nepalese villages on the slopes of Mt. Everest pocket as much as 60 percent of the trekkers' dollars because they own the cottages, cook the food, and guide trekkers, in Kenya, the communities living within the boundaries of the game parks do not even share in as much as 20 percent of the 3revenue from safaris. However, KWS scientists and others in the travel industry agree that the country's US$350 million tourism industry could gain greatly from increased investment and aggressive marketing of a people-oriented and eco-friendly package dubbed ecotourism.
Conflict is also exacerbated by the Maasai's dissatisfaction about the current level of wildlife-derived benefits being extended to the local communities. Currently, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) distributes approximately US$10,000 among the seven group ranches adjoining Amboseli National Park. The forum heard that the amount was not only meager; it was erratically given, in spite of the fact that Amboseli generates more tourists' dollars for KWS than any other park in the country. Moreover, lodges in Amboseli employ more than 1,500 people of which Amboseli residents constitute 4fewer than 100 people, put in the most undignified, poorly paid positions. Amboseli residents feel cheated and are increasingly becoming resentful of tourism and conservation programs alike.
2 Kenya Wildlife Service. www.kws.org. 2003. 3 Chris Gakahu. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. 2002. 4 Amboseli Community Wildlife Tourism Project. www.acwtp.org. 2000.