Kenya needs to conserve its wildlife since its considered be the cornerstone to its economy. Conservation of the wildlife in Kenya is a key growth to both the economy and GDP. This provides an excellent reason as to why Kenya should conserve its wildlife, flora and landscapes.
In Kenya’s vision 2030 goals, conservation of wildlife is considered as the key pillar to our economy. It is considered to help fight poverty and improve livelihoods.
Wildlife-based ventures as a result of conservation of wildlife contributes approximately 14% of the Kenya’s GDP. It also believed that one in ten people of Kenyans benefits directly from these ventures.
Kenya has a unique combination of the tourist attractions, diverse wildlife, landscapes and flora. History too recognizes Kenya to be a home to the early man. It is evident in its oldest towns such as Mombasa.
Some of the things that makes Kenya unique include:
- Resorts and tropical beaches.
- Large mammal species.
- World class diverse protected areas.
- Rich cultural tourism.
- Unique physical features and landscapes.
They may become extinct if we don’t conserve them. It implies that we should eliminate any threat subjected to them and conserve them at every level.
Kenya’s natural resources are mainly managed by both the national and county governments. Whereby the national parks are managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service while the national reserves are managed by the county governments. As a result , conservation has ended up being politicized.
Politicizing of the conservation of wildlife has led to land encroachment, deforestation, illegal logging, among others. The politicians even go ahead to only support agendas and motions that heavily benefit them and not the wildlife. It’s still a big threat yet to be defeated. Although they have been a change in their hearts by supporting some useful steps towards conserving wildlife, there is still need for more support. They did well supporting the temporal ban on logging but remained silent on the invasion of the SGR into the Nairobi National Park. Even after the activists peacefully demonstrated to have the construction stopped as ordered by the Kenyan Court, no one has said anything yet.
Moreover, conservation activities have heavily been left for the NGOs and conservancies despite not being their major stakeholders. The same way the government benefit the huge revenue, is the same way they should conserve our natural resources. They should be the ones to lead by example and not the opposite. Being the key managers of these resources, conserving them should come naturally but this is yet to be fully felt.
The conservation areas in Kenya attract huge revenue to both the national and county governments. These conservation areas are spread throughout the counties in that more than half of these counties have one or two of them. Despite the huge revenues collected from these conservation areas, very little is invested back to them. The saddest thing is how some of the areas have been left out and under bad management. Example of such attraction areas, is the Fourteen Falls in Thika. It is full of dirt and dead dead hyacinth everywhere despite bringing in millions every month. No one seem to care.
Despite the high number of the conservation areas in Kenya, 70% of its wildlife are found outside their designated areas and live with the community. The local community has been coexisting with wildlife for centuries hence proving that community-driven conservation is the most effective method to conserve wildlife. By embracing the community-driven conservation, we will be able to eradicate human-wildlife conflicts, poaching, forest over-exploitation and even land encroachment. It will also ensure that the benefits from wildlife is given back to the communities to eliminate poverty and promote developments.
Apart from politics, developments, infrastructures and industries pose threats to wildlife. This is so because while the decisions and plans are being made , little or no thought is processes regarding their consequences on wildlife. Which is a case in the SGR saga and Nairobi National Park. They seem to consider SGR to be more important and productive than the wildlife. To them the area to be encroached for the SGR construction is not very vital to the wildlife. What they don’t know is that they have just opened up our only national park in the city to possibility of extinction.
Most of the animals in this park are already collared for their safety regardless of the discomfort that comes with the collars, and here we are still snatching more land from them. Instead of causing more stress to these wildlife, we should work on ways that ensure we don’t interfere with their living conditions.
We should be able to learn from the destruction of Mau Forest and the disappearing ice from the peak of the Mount Kenya. Let’s be able to give back to them.