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Regulatory and Compliance Affairs (Licensing)

The Regulatory, Enforcement and Compliance Affairs Department has the overall responsibility for administration, regulation and co-ordination of all transactions in wildlife and their products. This is outlined in the following four broad areas:

  1. Game bird shooting
  2. Filming Authority
  3. Export/ re-export permits Fees


Game bird shooting is the only permissible form of sport hunting it is done both on designated bird shooting blocks and restricted private land.

Persons who wish to engage in activities of hunting game birds are required to have a Game License (GL) issued by the Licensing Officer. The GL authorizes the hunting of Game birds in such areas, for such periods, and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by the Minister responsible for wildlife.
i) Categories of Game Licenses

There are two categories of Game Licenses, one for residents and the other for visitors. For purposes of licensing, a resident is a person who has passed Kenya Wildlife Service qualifying test to shoot game birds and can do sport hunting alone. A visitor means someone who has not passed the Kenya Wildlife Service qualifying test to shoot game birds but wishes to do so accompanied by a professional hunter for birds who will always be his or her guide.
ii) Acquisition of a Game License


Any person interested in bird shooting applies to the Director of KWS. The applicant will then be invited for a test, which is currently conducted four times a year i.e., the first Wednesday of every quarter. The candidate is tested on his ability to recognize game birds and non- game birds from projected slides and to answer a series of verbal questions on Wildlife Act where it relates to game bird management. Candidates who pass the test can then take on a GL. He or she will then be given a set of guidelines, rules and conditions which they have to abide to.


Non resident hunters will book through registered professional hunters (birds). The professional hunters (birds) acquire a temporary permit for possession of firearms (TPP) for their visitors. Game Bird License(s) is/ are issued to the professional hunting license birds) holder upon presentation of TPP from the Chief Licensing Officer for firearms

iii) Professional Hunters License (birds)
A Professional Hunter is a person who has been duly licensed by KWS to accompany and guide a non-resident (visitor) GL holder for sport hunting. The professional hunter/ guide takes overall responsibility of ensuring that the non- resident hunter adheres to the rules and regulations governing game bird shooting as a sport, including filing of returns.

Qualifying for a Professional Hunters License
Any person who has held a Game License for a period of 12 months is eligible for a Professional Hunters License. In addition, one has to undertake a test and attain a pass to qualify. The test is administered twice a year: third Wednesdays of March and November. The test is composed of two parts as follows;

  • The first is a written test, the candidate has to attempt one out of seven papers on wildlife law and one out of five papers on game bird biology. The papers are randomly selected randomly by the candidate. The examination materials are supplied to the candidate to assist the applicant study and understand the scope of the test.
  • In the second part, the candidate is tested on gun discipline, which include safety of the visitors and the public and general gun discipline during sport hunting the candidate is tested on his/ her ability and competence in guiding visitors shooting birds. Here safety of the visitor and the public is of importance and one has to demonstrate that he has good control of the shooting party.

Gazzetted Open Season
The gazetted open seasons during which game birds may be hunted and shot are as follows:
Open Seasons for hunting and shooting game birds

Game Birds Period
Guinea fowls, francolins, patridges, spurfowls 1st July- 31st October;1st February- 31st March
Sandgrouse 1st July- 31st October;1st February- 31st March
Duck, geese, snipe 1st September- 31stMarch
Pigeons, doves 1st June- 30th April
Quails No closed season
Maccoa ducks, black ducks, white-backed ducks,spur-winged geese, pygmy geese CLOSED
Lesser bustards CLOSED

Source: Legal Notice No. 141 of 23rd July 2003

Bird Shooting Standard Conditions
Licensed bird shooters are advised to take keen note of and abide by bird shooting standard conditions issued to them upon issue of GLs. The standard conditions are as follows:
i) Booking of shooting units
All bookings shall be done at the Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters at Langata. A Game License holder is required to obtain a firearm certificate from the Central Firearms Bureau in order to make a block booking.

Maintenance of Registers

On entering the unit, shooting parties are required to report at designated control post to familiarize themselves with any special conditions imposed by the Warden and sign a register as guided by the Warden. On leaving the bird shooting unit, shooting parties are required to sign out at the designated control post as guided by the Warden and to submit returns to the Warden and Director, KWS within seven days and 21 days, respectively. Failure to comply with this instruction may result in suspension of the Game License.

  • Shot gun cartridges are restricted to nothing heavier than No. 5 load
  • Birds may only be shot in flight.
  • Shooting shall be prohibited for a minimum period of four days between bookings.
  • Carrying of rifles is prohibited.
  • All litter such as paper, to be burned on leaving the unit but tins and bottles must be carried away by every licensee.
  • Shooting parties shall adhere to any other special conditions and regulation, specified by the Warden or landowner in respect of individual units and or District.
  • All parties are asked to carefully avoid shooting immature birds and not to shoot any bird out of coveys where chicks are in evidence. SHOOTING of immature birds may render those responsible liable to prosecution and or suspension of the license.
  • Shooting parties are to adhere to daily bag limits per gun per day.

Daily Bag Limits

Species Limits
Guinea fowls,Francolins, Spurfowls and Partridges 20 per gun/day or amaximum of 10 per species
Ducks,Geese andSnipe 15 birds pergun/day(not to shoot Maccoa ducks, black ducks, white-backed ducks,spur-winged geese, pygmy geese
Pigeon andDoves 25 birds per gun/day
Quails 20 birds per gun/day
Sandgrouse 20birds per gun/day



Filming in National Parks and National Reserves is guided by the Film and Stage Plays Act (Chapter 222). Upon production of a filming permit from the Ministry of Information and Communication, and subsequent payment of prescribed filming fees, KWS shall issue a permit to film in National Parks and National Reserves under its jurisdiction. However, where a filming crew is large (more than 10 persons) and the filming activities are likely to have significant negative impacts on the environment, KWS may subject issuance of the filming authority to conditions it may deem fit.

The request will be subjected to environmental impact assessment and 15% conservation fees paid directly the Warden of the Park for conservation/ restoration of the environment. The 15% conservation fee is relative to the total amount of fees paid during the filming exercise and includes gate entry for persons and vehicles, guiding and any service provided by the Warden. The filming fee is payable at the KWS Headquarters Licensing Office.



All applications for export or re- export or import permits will be processed on the basis of their conformity to the Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act and where applicable, relevant international conservation conventions, such as CITES. Depending on their nature, applications may be directed the Scientific Authority both within and outside KWS and / or other Divisions within KWS for inspection, investigation, consultations and recommendations.

Individuals or organizations wishing to export or import wildlife specimens will be required to make an application to the Director, KWS using official forms. Applications will take 21 working days to process.

Export/ Re- Export Permit
The following guidelines will apply to requests to export specimen for the stated purposes:

Scientific Specimen
Applicants who wish to export scientific specimens will be required to attach the following documents to their application forms:

  • Research permit from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
  • Research/ project proposal
  • Letter of support from KWS Research Division
  • Material transfer agreement (MTA) with Government of Kenya or an affiliate Kenyan institution
  • Preliminary study findings (for on-going research)

Personal Effects
Applicants who wish to export personal effects will be required to attach to the application form original certificates for ownership/ legal possession of or in case of re- export, import permit for the specimen they wish to export.

Export of wildlife products from commercial breeding/ planting operations
The planting/ breeding operation should initially have been authorized by KWS. The applicant will be required to apply for the export permit using official forms. The application will be subjected to a field inspection by KWS officers and the Scientific Authority for recommendations before issuance of the export permit.

Import Permit
Applicants who wish to import wildlife specimen will initially make an application using the official application forms. The applicant will be required to present documents issued by a competent authority of the country of origin. These include, but are not limited to certificate of possession and CITES or non- CITES export permit as is necessary.

In addition to the specific requirements for export/ re-export and import given above all applicants will be required on to present together with the filled- in application form a phytosanitary inspection certificate in case of plant specimen and a veterinary health certificate issued by a government veterinary doctor in case of wild animals and birds.



Game Bird shooting

Item Fee

  • Residents Game License K Sh 5,000.00 p.a.
  • Visitors Game License US $ 100 p.a. or part therof
  • Professional Hunters Licence (Birds) K Sh 10,000.00 p.a.
  • Bird shooting Block Booking- Residents K Sh 300 per gun/block/day
  • Bird shooting Block Booking—Visitors US $ 50 per gun/block/day
  • Bird shooting test- Game License K Sh 500.00
  • Professional hunters (birds) license test K Sh 500,00

Filming Authority

No. of persons in crew Fee per week or part thereof

  • 1-5 persons K Sh. 8,000.00
  • 6-10 persons K Sh 12,000.00
  • 11- 20 persons K Sh 20,000.00

Export/ re-export/ import permits

Item Fee

  • CITES import/ export/ re-export permit K Sh 2,000.00
  • Non- CITES import/ export/ re-export permit K Sh 1,000.00
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