WILDLIFE SECTOR ACTION PLAN IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION
The CS for Tourism and Wildlife (MoTW) convened a stakeholder meeting via zoom to identify threats and strategic actions to address the emerging crisis in the wildlife sector. The stakeholders comprise Ministry officials, KWS, KWCA, CAK and Development partners – USAID, UNODC, United Nations Environment, EU & AfDB.
The global lockdown and movement restriction have halted the flow of tourist to Kenya, affecting revenue streams of all parks, reserves, and conservancies. The park visitation in national parks and reserves from 16th March 2020 declined by over 80%. And the projected loss of revenue across the wildlife sector value chain, including conservancies and community-based enterprise, has brought operations to a halt.
The KWS has put in place a contingency plan for essential services. Conservancies, on the other hand, are laying off and offering pay cuts for conservancy rangers and conservation NGO have shut down operations. NGO’s have challenges providing support to ongoing community-related projects. Conservancies have lost vast amounts of revenues through tourism affecting operations of community rangers and payment of lease fees.
The CS led team identified areas of concern listed below and that require the support of all stakeholders to help mitigate these threats.
|1||Mapping of parks, reserves, and conservancies to increase wildlife surveillance (engendered species, bushmeat). KWS has in place a multi-agency approach on intelligence gathering on endangered species and wildlife crime unit in place. The following areas Nyeri, Isiolo, Meru and Tana River are poaching hotspots.||Lead by KWS in collaboration with KWCA & CAK|
|2||Discussions with conservancies (NRT, Tsavo, Amboseli and Masai Mara) to retain 3,500 conservancies rangers to secure wildlife outside national parks and reserves – Kes 22,000 per ranger per month||Lead by CS & KWCA in collaboration with development partners|
|5||Mapping of bushmeat hotspots in parks, reserves and conservancies and development of strategies to cope with the possibility of a lockdown. The following areas Tsavo, Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Nakuru/Naivasha and Nanyuki/Timau are bushmeat hotspots.||Lead by KWS in collaboration with KWCA & CAK|
|6||Provide details of ongoing discussions in Olgulului (Amboseli) and Loita (Narok) to enforce a moratorium on land transfer in critical corridors and dispersal areas||Lead by CS in collaboration with CAK|
|7||Map and develop a rapid response strategy on human-wildlife conflict. KWS has mapped HWC hotspots using earth ranger with a unit to respond to HWC||Lead by KWS in collaboration with KWCA & CAK|
|8||Operationalization of the Wildlife Fund to support ongoing community initiatives||Develop a draft lead by CAK & KWCA|