Parks and Reserves
Overview - Parks and Reserves
About 8% of the Kenya’s land mass is protected area for wildlife conservation. Protected areas are gazetted landscapes/seascapes that have been surveyed, demarcated and gazetted either as National Parks and/or National Reserves. In Kenya, Protected areas embrace various types of ecosystems namely: forests, wetlands, savannah, marine, arid and semi-arid. The protected areas comprise of 23 terrestrial National Parks, 28 terrestrial National Reserves, 4 marine National Parks, 6 marine National Reserves and 4 national sanctuaries. In addition KWS manages over a hundred field stations/ outposts outside the protected areas. As noted above protected areas in Kenya are categorized either as parks or reserves. The distinction between the two categories is: in parks there is complete protection of natural resources and the only activities allowed are tourism and research. On the other hand in reserves, human activities are allowed under specific conditions. These activities are for instance fishing in marine reserves or firewood collection in terrestrial reserves. it is worth mentioning that a lot of Kenya’s wildlife lives outside Protected Areas, this is because most of the protected areas are not fully fenced, and hence wildlife moves in and out of these areas in search of pasture and water during certain periods within the year. When they move out of the protected areas, they interact with people on private and community land causing human wildlife conflict. This therefore requires that KWS embraces a strategic partnership with communities living in wildlife areas.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF MANAGING PROTECTED AREAS
The goal in establishing and managing protected areas is to protect, maintain and develop Kenya’s natural wildlife resources for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations of Kenyans and the people of the world. The key objectives of management are;
KWS Parks, Reserves and stations operations are at two levels; KWS Headquarters in Nairobi and at the field level
I KWS HEADQUARTERS
This is situated in Langata, Nairobi. The main roles at this level are to: advise, facilitate and coordinate activities in the field. Functions at the Headquarters are organized into Divisions. The management of parks, reserves and stations falls under the Wildlife & Community Service division
Wildlife & Community Service Division
The goal of the division is to enhance wildlife conservation & management inside and outside protected areas in partnership with communities & stakeholders through a skilled & equipped workforce.
Departments in the division,
4. Regulatory & Compliance Affairs department- regulation of the wildlife industry;
5. Community Enterprise Department –establishment and management of economically viable wildlife based enterprises
II. FIELD OPERATIONS
To ensure the effective management of all the protected areas spread all over the country, Kenya Wildlife service has decentralized authority, resources and activities by creating eight conservation areas. These conservation areas are;
Each of the area is headed by an Assistant Director. In each area are several parks and reserves headed by wardens who report to the assistant directors
Area strategy aims at;
PARK BRANDING PROGRAMME
The KWS Branding Programme began in the year 2005 and up to date about 20 National Parks & Reserves have been branded. For KWS branding has been about creating a unique identity for each park and improving public perception of the organization. The objectives of the branding programme have been to: increase revenue, improve the corporate image, Increase visitation, and enhance good relations with communities adjacent to protected areas and to improve staff welfare.
Branding activities include;
Parks already branded