Human-wildlife conflict: Uganda looks to Kenya

Human-wildlife conflict: Uganda looks to Kenya

With nearly 60 percent of wildlife outside protected areas, Uganda is adopting a new conservation approach designed to eliminate interactions that have negative consequences for wildlife and people.

Human conservation is trying to address human-wildlife conflicts in a way that is not unlike what is being done in Laikipia County, northern Kenya. In Uganda, as in Kenya, the climate has caused a movement between animals and humans that has put the two groups on a collision course.

Ms Joyce Mbataru, the communications manager of the Kenya Community Conservancies Association, says community conservation is just a new model of conservation. First implemented nearly three decades ago, there are 238 conservancies in the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association.

Conservation areas, ranging from public, group and private, cover nine million hectares. This means that 16 percent of the total land is spread over 29 counties in Kenya.

With about 60 percent of Kenya’s wildlife living on public and private lands, conservancies provide interconnected areas that complement parks and conservancies while helping communities participate in wildlife management. From 90 percent of the world’s population of Grévy’s wildebeest to 90 percent of the wolf deer and 45 percent of the black rhinoceros, nature reserves do their fair share of raising heavy animals.

Mr Sammy Leseita, head of livelihoods at the Northern Rangeland Trust, says that the public conservancy has lands between national parks and conservation areas registered to resemble the former; only owned and managed by the community.

“Through this, society can benefit from wildlife, trees, land but as an organized entity” said Mr Leseita.

In Kenya, nature reserves are a recognized land use under the Wildlife Act, 2013. This makes them an attractive land use option for communities and landowners. Mr Leseita, whose Northern Rangeland Trust has 43 community reserves under its belt, says his model aims to increase the power of community engagement with national and local governments.

“If you are a member of the community and you sleep without food, why would you listen to anyone who says you are saving the world? It doesn’t matter to you at all,” said Mr Leseita.

Peter Matunge, chief executive officer of the Laikipia Conservancy Association, shares similar views.

“Conservations provide protection to wildlife and give the public an opportunity to participate and also benefit from wildlife,” Mr Matunge, whose organization has 28 members, says, “In this land of Laikipia, nature reserves make Ksh6. 1 billion in economy and employs about 4,700 people. “

Mr. Matunge says that relocating the conservation area was a big mistake that led to the increase in illegal killings and ultimately the decline of Kenya’s wildlife population.

Ugandans who are working to develop the country’s Wildlife Conservancy Movement have been advised by Mr Leseita to find favor with the central government. Mr Matunge added that ownership of wildlife should be given to the public to own and manage it for the benefit of future generations. The need to strengthen public participation in wildlife conservation also goes without saying.

In the past, Uganda’s approach to wildlife management lacked public participation. The watershed moment came in 2013, with players moving to replicate the model in Namibia and Kenya.

Although previous efforts to pilot conservation have faced challenges due to a lack of capacity and technical guidelines, a few initiatives – such as the establishment of an umbrella organization – have been registered. Established in March 2021, the umbrella board counts 18 members under its purview.

“We believe that community conservation is about uniting communities, improving livelihoods, preserving wildlife, promoting coexistence, and strengthening community institutions while preserving cultural traditions,” said Mr. Walter Odokorwot, the executive director of the organization, adding that the 12 member out of 18. conservation areas are directly managed by the community.

#Humanwildlife #conflict #Uganda #Kenya

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *