A Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Laikipia County

Citation:
Graham MD. "A Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Laikipia County." Laikipia Wildlife Forum. 2012.

Abstract:

The earliest records of the particular affinity for wildlife that existed amongst Laikipia’s people date back to the mid 1920’s in the minutes of Laikipia Farmers’ Committee meetings. During that time, large tracts of Kenya, including the Central highlands, Kisii highlands and the Lake Victoria basin were teeming with wildlife. The above areas and much of Kenya lost all their wildlife, other than those which came under state protection in National Parks. Laikipia is one of the most notable exceptions to this trend. This conservation ethic preceded the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, so ours has just been an attempt to give it some structure, hence the Laikipia Wildlife Conservation Strategy. It has now come to be, and with it we hope to open a new era in practice and study of wildlife conservation. I would like to acknowledge the efforts made by Dr. Max Graham and the conservation committee in compiling and synthesizing all the views and information needed in such a strategy. The Laikipia Wildlife Forum does not expect this document to be a prescription of how we are going to preserve wildlife in Laikipia, but a guideline on the issues that will form a basis for the conservation partnerships we must forge for the future of people and wildlife in Laikipia County. Laikipia’s wildlife has always been a challenge, a source of pride, and asset to many people at many levels. However, since this wildlife lives in and amongst people, the context of conservation in Laikipia is wider than what is generally acknowledged. It involves a constant state of negotiations over multiple aspects, including pasture sharing, water sharing, use of forests, crop damage, livestock loss, and security. Over 60% of the issues to be dealt with do not involve any direct dealings with wild animals- they are issues that arise amongst people. The implementation of this strategy therefore will be a process of managing partnerships with ranchers, farmers, law enforcement officers, water users, tourism businesses, scientists and others. Laikipia is changing rapidly, with a high rate of settlement, housing development and land subdivision, forcing people and wildlife into adjustments to meet the reduced availability of resources. The Laikipia Wildlife Forum now faces the task of implementing this strategy. Through this process, we expect that valuable lessons will be learnt by all, resulting in a more cohesive society, environmentally responsible population, secure in their pursuits of various livelihoods. This is the reason why we regard this document as a guideline. It will necessarily evolve as it is implemented, because a static tool cannot ‘repair’ a dynamic problem.

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