Taita Taveta County stands to reap from tourism and conservation efforts if the implementation of the Wildlife Conservation Management Act 2013 is followed through.
The Wildlife Conservation Management Act 2013, an Act of Parliament, aims to streamline tourism and conservation activities with the involvement of local communities.
The Act seeks to establish a cohesive and sustainable environmental protection and conservation mechanism that brings together the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), private conservancies, partners, the national government, and the public in concerted efforts to bear benefits for both wild game and the locals.
With an establishment of a Wildlife Endowment Fund, Taita Taveta residents will be availed with employment opportunities, mutually beneficial partnerships with KWS, and a compensation scheme to cover property destruction by straying wild animals.
In a meeting that brought together environmental activists, the KWS, the national government representatives, county delegates, and ecological experts; it was agreed that time was ripe for the implementation of the Wildlife Conservation Management Act 2013 for the benefit of both the wildlife and the locals.
Speaking in support of the implementation, Ecological Expert and Consultant, Ken Esau said that the timing was right for the Act, which will bolster conservation efforts while at the same time providing income-generating opportunities for the locals.
“The time to implement the Wildlife Conservation Management Act 2013 is overdue. If we mean well for the wildlife and the people, then this should have been implemented many years ago. It will be a double-way benefit to the wildlife and our people,” Esau said.
Efforts spearheaded by the national government through relevant ministries and KWS are now underway, first and foremost, to curb human-wildlife conflicts in Taita Taveta.
On the other hand, eco-tourism efforts with the involvement of the local communities are in high gear with the potential to boost the county’s economy by creating jobs and alternative financial streams for the youth and women.
Taita Taveta Director Youths, Sports, Gender, Culture, and Social Services Wallace Mwaluma lauded the concerted efforts by the national government and other stakeholders to address the human-wildlife conflict and the beneficial involvement of the locals in the conservation and protection of the ecosystems.
“We can only be thankful for the good tidings across the county geared towards managing human-wildlife conflict and the taking of a conservation angle that will create jobs for the locals,” remarked Mr Mwaluma.
Lessons from the past have shown that conservation and wildlife management cannot be complete without the involvement of the local communities, and the national government through KWS and other concerned ministries.
By Arnold Linga Masila