A new report has questioned the current model of community-based wildlife conservation under the communal land tenure system in northern Kenya.
The survey by the Indigenous Movement For Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation, showed that the loss of grazing land was a big challenge arising from community conservancies across Marsabit, Isiolo, Laikipia and Samburu counties.
“This underscored our assessment that livestock production remains the most important livelihood activity in these areas.
“It is also an indication that the introduction of tourism and other related livelihoods can only supplement, but not replace, earnings from livestock rearing,” the report indicated.
The report, which recommended that conservancies adopt the 2016 Community Land Act, also indicated that the wildlife protection model being used in the North was causing human-wildlife and community conflict, and corruption.
“Corruption in this context refers to the perception of unequal distribution of benefits among conservancy members,” Mr Mali ole Kaunga, one of the authors of the report, said.
Conflict between communities arises from perceived biases in natural resource use decisions like grazing and other benefits like employment, particularly of security personnel in the conservancies.
“The respondents stated that these disputes began with the creation of Biliqo-Bulesa conservancy in Isiolo,” the report continued.
Further inquiry revealed that in Laikipia County the complaint arose from the large numbers of wildlife using grazing areas in the community areas, rather than the core wildlife areas.