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Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association 

 
 

Leading Kenya’s Conservancies Movement

Since the 1970s, wildlife in Kenya has declined by nearly 70% nationwide. But over the past decade, a diverse movement of conservancies has shown increasing promise for reversing these declines. 

These conservancies are local conservation areas established to protect wildlife on either private or community lands. A new wildlife law passed in 2013 provides formal government recognition of conservancies, and Kenyan wildlife policy increasingly promotes them as key to the country’s conservation approaches. Conservancies now cover over 6 million hectares of land, roughly 11% of Kenya’s total land area, or around the same total extent as Kenya’s national parks and reserves.  With more than 60% of the country’s wildlife found on private and community lands, conservancies play a critical role in conserving and recovering wildlife populations. 

The Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) was created in 2013 to provide a national umbrella association for these diverse, nascent local conservancies, drawing them together into a grassroots movement and creating links to national policy-making processes. KWCA supports the conservancies through a range of technical tools, information, and peer learning, and represents them on key government bodies. 

We believe conservancies go far beyond just wildlife conservation and instead have the potential to improve livelihoods, unite communities, promote wildlife and community co-existence, strengthen local democracy and preserve cultures and traditions.
— Dickson Kaelo, KWCA CEO, in inaugural Kenyan State of Conservancies report, December 2017.

How KWCA Achieves Impact

 
 
 
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Conservancies in Kenya, covering 6.36 million hectares of land


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11% 

Kenya’s land mass under Conservancies


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90% 

Of total populations of Grevy’s zebra and hirola—both highly endangered species almost entirely restricted to Kenya—that are found in private and community conservancies 

 

KWCA has been key to the development of the conservancies movement, and in turn, to the recovery of wildlife.

Since its formation five years ago, KWCA has grown into one of the country’s most important organizations, as a national leader and convener of the growing conservancies movement. KWCA has played a key role influencing major policy and legal reform measures such as the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013), and subsequent regulations for implementation of the Act, as well as the Community Land Act (2016). 

KWCA also has become the leading source of information and technical tools related to conservancies, and is increasingly sought out by a growing membership of conservancies as well as local communities and landowners interested in creating new conservancies.

Conservancies are fast emerging as the centrepiece of natural resource conservation on the rangelands.
— Source: Ogutu JO, Piepho H-P, Said MY, Ojwang GO, Njino LW, Kifugo SC, et al. (2016) Extreme Wildlife Declines and Concurrent Increase in Livestock Numbers in Kenya: What Are the Causes? PLoS ONE 11(9): e0163249.

Growth of Conservancies in Kenya

 
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