Taita Taveta locals oppose state plan on private ranches
Ranchers in Taita Taveta have faulted a recommendation by the government that calls for review of wildlife laws to allow community conservancies to be considered as protected areas.
The recommendation is among 13 others proposed by the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism from the recently concluded 2021 National Wildlife Census.
Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservancies Association (TTWCA) chair Bong’osa Mcharo said the recommendation was flawed as it fails to recognise conservancies as independent entities that are governed by different laws from the ones that govern protected areas.
Speaking yesterday, he said the proposal poses a risk of micromanaging ranch activities and would introduce a new management system that was incompatible with the vision and objectives of members of the ranches.
“The proposal to have conservancies treated as protected areas is unacceptable. We already converted our ranches into conservancies because we want to participate in conservation activities.
However, trying to classify or recognise conservancies as protected areas will not work,” he said.
After converting to conservancies, most ranches have already prepared strategic plans that focus on how they could reap maximum benefits from resources available in the ranches.
They include tapping into wildlife potential, livestock rearing, feedlot management and mining.
Taita-Taveta county has more than 28 conservancies occupying an area of more than 1.2 million acres.
Already, Mgeno Ranching Co. Ltd and Wushumbu Conservancies have had management plans approved by KWS and are awaiting gazettement by Wildlife Cabinet Secretary to attain full conservancies status.
A senior KWS official in Tsavo Conservation Area said the proposal was informed by the need to have a legal framework by which KWS and Department of Wildlife would carry out activities in the conservancies.
However, Mcharo said KWS did not need an explicit law to allow them participate in conservation activities. - KNA