The Role of Community Conservancies in Wildlife Conservation and Livelihoods Systems of The Maasai: A Case Study of Enoonkishu Conservancy, Narok County, Kenya
Syallow, Dorothy M
MetadataShow full item record
This study was conducted in Enoonkishu Conservancy, one of the newly established community conservancies in Mara Ecosystem in Narok County. The main objective was to examine the role of community conservancies in wildlife conservation and community livelihood systems. Specific objectives being: a) determining contribution of conservancy to wildlife conservation, b) examining land use and land cover changes, c) examining attitudes and perception of community towards establishment of the conservancy and lastly d) determining contribution of the conservancy to community livelihood. The study utilized descriptive research design to examine current situation in Enoonkishu Conservancy. Data was obtained using both primary and secondary sources. Wildlife status and diversity, attitudes and perception of community towards conservancy establishment and contribution of conservancy to community livelihood was determine by use of questionnaire survey, focused discussion groups and interviews. Land use and land cover change was determined by analysis of three sets of Landsat TM images taken in 1990, 2000 and 2010, whereby area under different uses and cover were plotted against the year, regression analysis done. Quantitative data was analysed using a wide range of tools in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) where frequencies were calculated. Results indicated that Enoonkishu has a great diversity of wild animals and habitat which are valued by community in different ways. Dominant wild animals included elephants and zebra. Most problematic ones were elephants and lions, whereas migratory included wildebeests and elephants. There were species which the community felt that they should be considered for community conservation: rhino, wild dogs, lions and elephants ranked high, while dik diks, hare, hyena were among those lowly considered for community conservation. Forests and grasslands were among the important wildlife zones It was established that land use and land cover in Enoonkishu have undergone dramatic change with 92% forest cover reduction, 90% and 97% increase in grass and cropland respectively. The community had positive attitudes and perception towards establishment of the conservancy. The study also established that the conservancy has contributed to direct benefits such as employment, market for products and social amenities alongside strengthening social ties. Indirect benefits included improved social facilities such as health and education, as well as provision of clean water. It is therefore concluded that formation of the conservancy has contributed to wildlife conservation and the livelihood of community. The contributions depicted by the establishment ranges from ecological to socio-economic. Interms of wildlife conservation, the conservancy has diversity of wildlife, making it an important conservation zone and therefore calls for its protection and conservation. Land use and cover changes recorded is a resultant effect of dynamics of land tenure system in the area. The positive attitude and perception that community has towards establishment of the conservancy is attributed to three things: age, level of awareness about conservation and community involvement in establishment of the conservancy and finally, conservancy model helped organizing thecommunity within the area in ways that they can eke out livelihood from conservation activities. The study therefore recommends development of policy that supports wildlife conservation as a land use option for communities and hence establishment of community conservancies. Regarding management issues, the study proposes development of a land use plan for the area to control encroachment into conservation areas and to guide development. Zonation of the conservancy into core conservation, buffer and settlement area zones, promotion of improved pastoralism as an alternative to traditional pastoralism and research on viability of extensive wildlife production as an income generation stream. Interms of areas for further research, the study proposes wildlife census to have inventory of what exists in the area, an examination into trends of human wildlife conflicts and challenges facing community based conservation in the area, existing opportunities, and what the government has done to enhance the sector and finally equitable benefit sharing .