- The government should consider innovation in conservation and tourism revenue generation
- Some organizations threatened to file a case in court to oppose the president’s directive while Governors Joseph Ole Lenku (Kajiado), Patrick Ntutu (Narok), and Lati Lelelit (Samburu) said organizations opposed to the directive risk being banned from operating within Maa counties.
Conservationists have opposed President William Ruto’s directive that national parks and devolved governments share returns equally.
According to Wildlife & Conservation Professional Association (WCPA) Secretary General Tuqa Jirmo, KWS is overstretched due to a lack of Finance as only 6 National parks generate money to finance all Wildlife operations in Kenya including on private land, community lands, and National parks.
Jirmo said the government should consider innovation in conservation and tourism revenue generation including domestic tourism, public, and private partnership viability and sustainability.
“The 50% revenue sharing will further create financial difficulties. The government should allocate adequate funds to support KWS operation. This includes rehabilitation of all conservation areas (what is now called paper park) to standards that can generate revenue and meet conservation goals,” he said.
Jirmo suggested that the 50% revenue from the park should also be distributed to support community conservancies.
“The revenue sharing mechanism be extended to all other conservation areas countrywide including marine parks and reserves. The government should utilize thousands of wildlife–conservation graduates and professionals to support and drive the conservation sector,” he said.
Jirmo added that the Kenya Wildlife Service has been struggling with wildlife management across the country.
“To make this approach work and achieve the intended Goals, our recommendations are; The 50% revenue must be anchored in law with a clear framework detailing how the revenues will be shared because some National parks and reserves share boundaries with more than 5 counties.
“The 50% revenue sharing mechanism should also have some responsibilities sharing in terms of wildlife and conservation areas Management Human-wildlife conflict management, fire control, water and pasture access for wildlife, control poaching, opening up of migratory corridors, and suspension of land sub-division in wildlife-rich counties among others,” Jirmo said.
Speaking on Tuesday in Narok County during the Maa Cultural Festival, President Ruto noted that the national and devolved governments will share the returns equally since host counties play an integral role in ensuring the success of the conservancy.