The newly published draft guidelines under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, No. 47 of 2013 cited Wildlife Conservation and Management (Community Participation) Regulations 2016 provide a mechanism for community participation in conservation. This is a welcome move towards involvement of the communities in conservation particularly for communities neighbouring game parks and game reserves. The guidelines seek to promote conservation of wildlife and its habitats in such protected areas, while seeking to involve the communities in the management of wildlife; ensure that wildlife is appropriately valued in order to reduce illegal off-take and encourage sustainable use by rural communities and create an environment that will ensure legal and sustainable wildlife schemes directly benefit local communities. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is mandated to engage and involve the communities in the management of wildlife resources including extraction of minerals and other extractive resources in the protected areas.
This is a positive shift in policy, from the previously hardline political position where communities have been sidelined in the conservation and management of wildlife and wildlife resources, to a position of policy measures which provide incentives to actors to conserve biodiversity and promote sustainable development.
The draft guidelines can be accessed via http://kws.go.ke/downloads.