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Parks and reserves managed by KWS

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About Us

Overview - About Us

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) conserves and manages Kenya’s wildlife for the Kenyan people and the world. It is a state corporation established by an Act of Parliament Cap 376 with the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya, and to enforce related laws and regulations.

The challenges facing wildlife and biodiversity conservation in Kenya are many and varied. They include climate change, habitat degradation and loss, forest depletion, tourism market volatility, human wildlife conflict brought on by population growth and changing land use habits of communities that co-exist with wildlife as well as wildlife crime.

To tackle these issues, we employ a multi-pronged approach and strategies and engage different interest groups, stakeholders and partners.

KWS undertakes conservation and management of wildlife resources outside protected areas in collaboration with stakeholders. It is our goal to work with others to conserve, protect and sustainably manage wildlife resources. The community wildlife program of KWS in collaboration with others encourages biodiversity conservation by communities living on land essential to wildlife, such as wildlife corridors and dispersal lands outside parks and reserves. The premise is that "if people benefit from wildlife and other natural resources, then they will take care of these resources."


Our Vision

"To save the last great species and places on earth for humanity”


Our Mission

“To sustainably conserve, manage, and enhance Kenya's wildlife, its habitats, and provide a wide range of public uses in collaboration with stakeholders for posterity”


Our Core Values

"Passion, Professionalism, Innovation and Quality"

Our Mandate

  • Stewardship of National Parks and Reserves, including security for visitors and wildlife within and outside protected areas
  • Oversight of wildlife conservation and management outside protected areas, including those under local authorities, community and private sanctuaries
  • Conservation education and training
  • Wildlife research
  • Input into national wildlife-related law and policy, and adapting and carrying out international conventions and protocols.


More specifically, conserving our wildlife heritage and habitat requires multiple roles in multiple sectors. These include:


Parks and Reserves:  

  • KWS manages about 8 per cent of the total landmass of the country. This land contains 22 National Parks, 28 National Reserves and 5 National Sanctuaries.  Also under KWS management are 4 Marine National Parks and 6 Marine National Reserves at the Coast. In addition, KWS manages 125 field stations outside protected areas.   
  •  Beyond wildlife habitats, the parks and stations feature office and residential blocks, training institutes, workshop areas, research centres, bandas, hotels, shops and restaurants, boreholes, road networks, airstrips and related plants and equipment.


Tourism Development and Vision 2030:  

  • Tourism is the second largest sector of Kenya’s economy. Wildlife managed by KWS forms the backbone of Kenya’s tourism industry, since most visitors come above all to view wildlife. 
  • The tourism industry accounts for 21 per cent of total foreign exchange earnings and 12 per cent of GDP.  KWS accounts for 90 per cent of safari tourism and about 75 per cent of total tourist earnings. 
  • Vision 2030:  KWS is a key enabler and one of the key implementing agencies for Vision 2030 flagship projects. 
  • Tourism Marketing and recovery strategy; Premier Parks Initiative which involve branding of the most popular parks with the aim of offering high quality experience at premium rates;
  • Under-utilized parks initiative - KWS continues to expand and rehabilitate facilities and infrastructure in its parks including bed capacity through investments into less frequented parks.
  • Transport Infrastructure:  As an agency of the Kenya Roads Board, KWS is charged with the task of developing and maintaining roads within the National Parks and Reserves. 
  • Development of niche products: Eco tourism, Cultural tourism, bird tourism etc. 
  • Under-utilized parks initiative - KWS continues to expand and rehabilitate facilities and infrastructure in its parks including bed capacity through investments into less frequented parks. 
  • Other tourism development strategies include: Domestic tourism promotion, improved customer services, roads infrastructure development. 
  • Economic development and multiplier effects in other industries: Tourism provides multiplier effects in agriculture, horticulture, transport and communications.
  •  KWS also helps communities outside protected areas develop tourism and other ventures, bringing critically needed jobs and income to rural areas.

 

Wildlife Management and Conservation Research 

  • The Kenya Wildlife Service continues to strengthen the approach of science- driven wildlife conservation and management. These approaches include: monitoring of wildlife health through continuous disease surveillance and control; 
  • Genetic resources: By protecting habitat and wildlife, KWS also conserves genetic resources that could be used to develop new or improved food crops, medications, and other products.  For instance, wild plants related to food crops may have genes that increase drought, flood or salt tolerance. Biotechnologists can use such genes to make important crops more resilient.  
  • Environmental assessments: to ensure sustainable management of wildlife and their habitats for posterity.
  • Restoration of ecosystems: forest conservation and water towers conservation. The 10 marine parks and reserves that KWS manages are critical breeding areas for sea life, sustaining the country’s fishing industry
  • Translocations: Wildlife translocation is used as a tool for to mitigate challenges such as human-wildlife conflict, the management of carrying capacities of particular areas and maximising genetic variety.
  • Species Conservation: to protect and ensure survival of particular endangered species. 
  • Bio-prospecting:  enhanced efforts on biotechnology include: strategy for conservation and management for aloe species in Kenya as well as the identification, discovery and characterization of useful compounds, DNA extracts, genes and microbes from wildlife.
  • International Arena: Coordination of biodiversity related multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAS), formation of the African Elephant Coalition and CITES convention.
  • Water: KWS is responsible for managing and protecting the critical water catchments of Mt Kenya, the Aberdares, Mt. Elgon, Chyulu, and Marsabit. In addition, KWS is involved in efforts to protect and restore the Mau Forest in collaboration with other national agencies.
  • Energy: KWS safeguards the source of much of our nation’s energy. Some 70 per cent of Kenya’s electricity comes from hydroelectric dams. Most of these are sited on the Tana River, which flows from Mt. Kenya and Aberdare National Parks. The second largest source is the Turkwell Gorge, in Nasolot National Reserve. Geothermal power is generated in Hell’s Gate National Park.
  • National security:  KWS is a disciplined and uniformed force, supplementing national security. KWS protects wildlife, people, and property.
  • Review of wildlife-related policy and legislation: With its wealth of experience on the ground, KWS contributes to policy on land, tourism, fisheries, forest conservation, water and environmental management.
  • International conventions: Kenya is a signatory to a number of environmental conventions and protocols. As the designated national authority on wildlife, KWS is called upon to interpret international conventions, adapt them to local conditions, and implement them in Kenya. 


Law Enforcement and Regulation 

  • Combating Wildlife Crime:  We have put in place proactive, preventive and reactive measures to enhance the safety of wildlife. Ground and aerial patrols targeting poachers and to provide security for wildlife, wildlife habitats and tourists. 
  • Strategies: Building synergies with stakeholders to enhance the conservation and protection of our natural resources. These include police, customs Kenya Airports Authority, Judiciary, Kenya Forest Service Officers. 
  • Cross-border wildlife security collaborative initiatives were pursued with Tanzania and Uganda Wildlife Authorities. 
  • Dog unit at the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute in Naivasha to enhance security of wildlife within and outside the sanctuary.

 


Our Partners:

Stakeholders include communities around the parks who are expected to provide security to wildlife as well as welcome tourists. Where possible, KWS seeks to empower these communities through capacity-building, conservation-based businesses, and educational and health programmes.

The Government expects enhanced security of tourists and wildlife; reduced conflict between people and wildlife; and conservation of ecosystems including vital water towers.

The operations of private ranchers are generally guided by the overall wildlife policy and legislation.

In addition, the local authorities involved in wildlife conservation and management will continue their collaboration with KWS, especially on security and scientific management of wildlife.

Without the support of donors and other development partners, our work would be extremely difficult. We therefore work closely with this category of stakeholders, who recognize that we hold this wildlife in trust for the world. They expect efficient services from KWS.

Other stakeholders that we work closely with include various conservation NGOs, as well as those related to the tourism industry (such as tour agencies, the hotels, other investors and the tourists).


Specialized Training and Capacity Building:

Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (KWSTI) in Naivasha is one of our training units that offers diploma and certificate courses and has been recognized at a centre for wetland management training.
Manyani Field Training School provides specialized training to our security personnel as well as to other Kenyan institutions with training needs in security.

 

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