Kenya: Journalist says environment conservation initiative depriving pastoralists of their livelihood to pave way for commercial conservancies
An investigative journalist alleges that the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been dispossessing pastoralists of their land and depriving them of livelihood. The Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association has denied the allegations. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Tullow Oil to respond to claims of financially supporting the trust. Tullow Oil did not respond.
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Author: John Mbaria, in NewAfrican
“A conspiracy in the wild”
For over 10 years, the Northern Rangelands Trust [NRT], a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country…Today, the NRT effectively controls 44,000 km2 (or 10.8m acres) of land – that’s roughly eight per cent of Kenya’s 581,309 km2 landmass…This has been done through community wildlife conservation, a model in which landowners assert the right to manage and profit from wildlife on their lands.
… As New African found out…the NRT-inspired community-conservation model is simple and can be quite attractive for anyone ignorant of its implications, especially for the lives and livelihoods of local people…[The] organisation has come up with quite an attractive package for the communities, including securing for them investors interested in developing lodges and other tourism facilities, once they agree to set aside some of their lands for exclusive use by wildlife and the investors…
However, hidden in the fine print are consequences that are considered grave for the pastoralist groups in Northern Kenya. “Even when droughts occur, many of the pastoralist groups [who have signed up to the agreements] cannot access part of their lands that are now set aside for wildlife conservation and which constitute community conservancies,” says Michael Lalampaa…who hails from Samburu County.
Author: Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association
"Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association response to allegation of land dispossession by conservancies"
While this story is about NRT and Community conservancies in Northern Kenya, the lack of objectivity and distortion of facts, paints a bad image on wildlife conservancies in Kenya. Contrary to the article’s assertion that community conservancies are an avenue to dispossess communities of their land and put the land under the control of militia funded by external donors, community conservancies in Kenya are community initiatives developed to enhance rather than destroy ability of pastoralists to live off their land. Conservancies are managed by locally elected community leaders who develop and foresee implementation of the conservancy management plans. The community rangers, themselves local youth implement community decisions. The author did not attempt to contact KWCA yet went ahead to falsely report that 2,300 community rangers have been trained by KWS.
- Related stories: Kenya: Journalist says environment conservation initiative depriving pastoralists of their livelihood to pave way for commercial conservancies
- This is a non response from the following companies: Tullow Oil