Conflict Management

Goal of Conflict Management

To be effective, KWS must choose from various options the goal it wants to achieve in conflict management Some possibilities are outlined below:


  • Avoidance Inaction
  • Prevention Minimize risk
  • Reduction Minimize Impact
  • Elimination Total Removal

Many practical factors (e.g., the distribution, nature and controllability of animals; manpower and financial resources; costs and benefits of methods available ; etc.) should play a part in the final decision.

Avoidance theoretically involves inaction or attempts to avoid responsibility. As a goal, it is illusive. Most people perceive that, in the past, wildlife authorities tried to avoid wildlife-human conflict by strictly protecting animals. Their main strategies were strict protectionist legal policies, failure to act, and administrative delaying tactics such as those associated with compensation payments. The implicit avoidance policy has been especially frustrating for farmers.

Prevention is usually possible and realistic. In the past, fences and game moats have been used to prevent wildlife-human conflicts in agriculture areas.

Reduction plans involve assumptions that conflicts are inevitable and that conflict-resolution mechanisms should be established in advance to minimize the impact of wildlife-related losses.

Elimination means total removal of conflict, which is possible – but not without killing or controlling all animals. The Review Group believes, based on its investigations, that for KWS and Kenya, prevention and reduction in combination is the most realistic and optimal goal; avoidance and elimination, the two extreme options, are appropriate.

Conflict-mitigation Strategy

Having defined its goal, KWS must then choose the most effective strategies or combination of measures (for example, fencing and shooting) with which to achieve it. KWSs current animal control strategy concentrates on preventing conflict with land-use planning (e.g., Memorandum of Understanding forests) and fencing; it lacks conflict-reduction mechanisms.

The most important practical aspect of the Review Group’s stand on conflict-mitigation options is the implication that wildlife problems can be reduced to a certain degree but not eliminated absolutely. In principle, at least, Kenyans must be prepared to live with a certain amount of inconvenience from wildlife.

Recommendations for Action

The Review Group recommends two specific sets of action: additions and adjustments to operational strategies outside KWS, including new legislation on wildlife utilization and

adjustments to internal KWS management and strategies.

Additions and Adjustments to General Operational Strategies

New Legislation for Sustainable Wildlife Utilization

KWS should propose new legislation on sustainable wildlife utilization that supersedes the current bans on hunting and capture of wildlife in Legal Notice No. 120 of 20 May 1977 and the subsequent prohibition of trade in wildlife and wildlife products contained in Act No. 5 of 1978 and Legal Notice No 181 of 28 August 1979. This is necessary to create a policy and law environment that will enable KWS to integrate wildlife and other land uses outside protected areas and ensure that landowners receive benefits from keeping wildlife on their property.

The new legislation should;

  • Make sport hunting in its old form irrelevant in Kenya’s wildlife management system;
  • Make the legal bans on hunting, capture and trade obsolete;
  • Allow sustainable wildlife utilization;
  • Liberalization wildlife management outside protected areas by delegating to communities and landowners some rights and authority to utilize wildlife for economic benefit as well as take on certain responsibilities and costs of conservation;
  • Allow development of wildlife industries that process value-added wildlife products for higher incomes;
  • Abolish the 25 percent revenue-sharing policy, provide for community participation and responsibility in sustainable wildlife conservation, and facilitate maximum flow of wildlife-utilization benefits directly to the communities and individuals whose land provides wildlife subsistence outside protected areas; SHEDULE CONTENT Schedule A Wildlife land-use zones where planned wildlife utilization can be carried out Schedule B Species to be utilized are specifed Schedule C Methods of utilization are specified Schedule D Communities, groups or individual landowners resposible for coordinating utilization activities


Schedule A Wildlife land-use zones where planned wildlife utilization can be carried out Schedule B Species to be utilized are specifed Schedule C Methods of utilization are specified Schedule D Communities, groups or individual landowners responsible for coordinating utilization activities

Specify wildlife utilization zones (shown in the table above) that the KWS director can apply according to ecological monitoring information; accompanying schedules should include species affected; outline a hierarchical conflict-management strategy for each zone; specify groups and institutions that are competent to crop, handle and process wildlife products and supervise or coordinate these activities at local level; and list individuals or groups authorized to keep wild animals on private game farms, orphanages, private game reserves, etc.

Maintain the state’s prerogative to own all wildlife and intervene when the situation demands;

Provide a policy framework for a systematic development of tourist facilities in protected areas with specific procedures for environmental assessment planning valuation and marketing and leasing of land in wildlife areas for development of tourist facilities such as tented camps, lodges, beach hotels, etc.

Generalize wildlife policy by stating that in protected areas, conservation of entire ecosystems, tourism, education and research have the highest priority, while outside protected areas, utilization and conflict-mitigation strategies (fencing, animal control and compensation) have definite and high priority and

Provide compensation for people killed or injured by wild animals through an insurance scheme operated by KWS that also provides indemnification for hospitals expenses, cost-sharing of graduated premiums and prompt payment of claims at district level.

Compensation Insurance

Ways of initiating a wildlife indemnification scheme for hospitalization and compensation of victims should be explored with insurance experts. In principle, KWS could ask the government to pay insurance premiums with a grant from the existing compensation account. The insurance policy should be devised with the broadest possible range of categories and levels, so as to extend coverage to the largest possible number of people.

Wildlife Land-use Planning Strategy

In order to identify new opportunities to protect wildlife, develop new uses and monitor environmental processes on land outside protected areas, KWS planners should not confine themselves to protected areas but keep a broad perspective on land-use matters. They should coordinate their activities with physical-planning and land adjudication activities outside protected wildlife areas. KWS planners should adopt a broad-based wildlife-land-use model of the whole country, with the three basic zones advocated used to guide policy-related decisions and strategic wildlife-planning.

Model of Terrestrial Wildlife Management Zones

Protected Areas: Highest Wildlife Potential

Zone I

Pastoral Region: Medium Potential

Zone II

Agricultural Region: Zone Wildlife Potential

Zone III

Furthermore, KWS should make greater use of MOUs or similar instruments in land-use planning in order to secure small, valuable wildlife-conservation units by cooperating with individual and group landowners, Kenyan government departments and local-government authorities.

Land and Tourism Development

To provide backup for policy specifications, KWS should prepare a discussion paper on allocation, valuation, site planning, environmental assessment, marketing, conditions of lease and other requirements for developers of lodges and tented camps in protected areas on private land. The dual purpose would be to 1) provide conditions for keeping the highest environmental standards and economic benefits in protected areas and 2) provide a technical backup service for community projects and advice to landowners who wish to develop their land for wildlife-related tourism.

Environmental Impacts of Conflict, Protection and Tourism

The impact of fences on protected areas should be assessed at national parks including Tsavo East, Meru and Aberdares.

Case studies on the impact of wildlife-human conflicts should be made in areas scheduled for fencing Nyeri, Aberdares, Imenti (Kithoka-Ruiri-Naari corridor), Taita and Kwale.

Finally, Kenya’s environmental policy is on the drawing board at present. In order to ensure that provisions for environmental issues related to wildlife conservation, management and wildlife-related tourism are included, KWS should prepare a discussion paper on the subject.

Distribution of Wildlife Benefits

The term benefit sharing is preferable to revenue sharing. Landowners whose property supports wildlife are the principle stakeholders. Benefits of wildlife utilization should be targeted preferentially and directly to landowners. Alternatively, in a group ownership situation, benefits should be channelled directly to people at specific wildlife loci. To avoid red tape and abuse, institutions with no mandate regarding land used by wildlife should not be involved in the transfer of benefits to landowners.

Adjustments to Internal KWS Management and Strategies

Handling Conflict Mitigation and Clashes of Interest

KWS’s highest priority should be to develop a hierarchical conflict-mitigation strategy that combines prevention by fencing, shooting of problem animals, compensation, impact assessment and evaluation.

To deal with human-wildlife-human conflicts or clashes of interest, KWS requires a collaborative network including its parent ministry as well as other government of Kenya ministries, the tourism industry, NGOs and communities.

Institutional Building

KWS should encourage and support institutional development in wildlife conservation. A coordinated institutional network of local and national conservation NGOs should be maintained through regular dissemination of information and by involving such groups in problem analysis, exchange of views and decision-making.

Management Divisions

The functions of and responsibility for utilization and conflict mitigation require more emphasis and better definition at management level from KWS headquarters. In general, the Specialized community Wildlife Service should be strongly identified at deputy director level.

CWS Evaluation

KWS should evaluate the methods and impact of the Community Wildlife Service.

Tourism Officers

In order to build capacity for tourism development in community wildlife areas, KWS should have in-house technical advisors or second tourist officers to areas with tourism potential.

Information and Public Relations

Awareness and general information services require strengthening at national and local levels through appropriate public information techniques. KWS should vary the working uniform for Community Wildlife Service staff to avoid a formal military appearance.

Research and Utilization of Scientific Data

KWS should strengthen the dynamic transfer of information between its research and CWS sections, with emphasis on improvement and use of the database to fix cropping quotas and seasonal off-take levels based on animal numbers and movement trends. Some populations of plains game species (e.g., eland, Thomson’s gazelle, Impala) are likely to be affected by selective utilization because they are highly preffered for meat. KWS should encourage landowner communities to maintain a network of local databases for purposes of wildlife utilization. This could be a major means of stimulating institutional growth in community wildlife management.

Finally, KWS needs to prepare policy studies and discussion papers on:

Benefit and Cost-Sharing: KWS should prepare a paper on distribution of wildlife benefits in the past, with special reference to the rightful shares of different stakeholders and recommendations for future directions.

Policy Development and Conservation Doctrine: Some predicaments with conservation organizations and donors reflect a crisis of confidence in indigenous values governing wildlife conservation and dependence on stereotypes drawn from foreign values. For the purposes of policy development, KWS should sponsor preparation of a discussion paper on policy guidelines based on indigenous wildlife-conservation values. These values should be incorporated in policy and legislation as well as transferred through education and training.

Traditional Compensation Systems: In order to enhance the application of indigenous values to wildlife policy, traditional compensation systems governing human deaths (e.g., forty-nine head of cattle in the Maasai Community) should be evaluated and summarized.

Feasibility of Compensation Insurance: Arable farming and urban zones with possibility of direct income from wildlife should be identified and subjected to a strict policy of animal control and appropriate compensation. KWS and stakeholders should start a transparent debate on this topic with a view toward establishing needs, realities, possibilities and limitations. A discussion paper should be written on a workable cost-sharing insurance scheme or wildlife compensation fund with a view to developing policy guidelines and identifying potential contributors to such a fund.

Game Farming: To help the country find its bearings for future development, KWS should conduct a conclusive debate on game farming and domestication to determine whether Kenya should aim to have small domestic zoos or produce meat and skins commercially from game farms. The debate should consider such aspects as goals, the legal issues and implications of tamed wild animals, economic benefits, the sociocultural value of tamed animals, and game farming’s potential contribution to wildlife management outside protected areas. Outcomes of the debate should be included in a discussion paper.

Elephants:Population levels and alleged behavior changes need to be thoroughly investigated before KWS formulates a policy for elephant control.