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Why conservancies?


are fully operational, 42 currently emerging, and 8 more proposed in Kenya.

over 2900

rangers are employed to patrol and monitor conservancies in Kenya.

142 camps & eco lodges (more than 2 400 beds)

Conservancies are key tourist destinations:

local community households derive direct benefits from conservancies.

over 700 000

KWCA, 2016

The East African Wildlife Society was established in 1956 by joining two wildlife societies from Kenya and Tanzania and has since spread its conservation activities across all of East Africa. 


EAWLS is working with key partners to build community awareness, strengthen institutional arrangements and improve benefit sharing. Furthermore, they are working on reducing human wildlife conflict and stem the tide of poaching. They have contributed significantly to a sound policy environment for the sustainable management of the region’s wildlife.

EAWLS also contributed in the establishment of a rhino sanctuary in Lake Nakuru Park, translocation of the critically endangered Roan Antelope to Ruma Park, pushed for the establishment of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and provision of anti-poaching equipment to KWS and community wildlife conservancies among many others initiatives and interventions.

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Kenya is one of the most biodiversity-rich countries in the world. Wildlife is a source of national pride and the cornerstone for the tourism industry that contributes 10% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 11% of the total formal workforce. In addition to providing direct economic benefits, Kenya’s wildlife habitats and conservation areas (including terrestrial and marine National Parks and Reserves, Sanctuaries and Conservancies) are also vital for water catchment, carbon sequestration, fresh air and recreation.

Source: EAWLS

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Source: KWCA Kenya


The tourism sector earns Kenya an average of KES 100 billion (USD 1 billion) every year and contributes to over 13.5 % of the Country’s GDP and directly supported an estimated.

250,000 jobs and an additional 350,000 indirectly. This has been adversely affected by the pandemic locally and nationally.

Source: EAWLS

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Conservancies play a critical role towards the protection of endangered wildlife species, creates employment, improves the livelihood of the local communities living within wildlife areas (which in many cases have remained under-developed) and lastly to the national economy as highlighted in the figure alongside.


Over 65% of wildlife occurs outside parks and reserves which collectively cover 12% of Kenya’s landmass.

Conservancies, covering 11% of Kenyan landmass and still growing, present a great potential for securing wildlife outside reserves and parks.


Conservancies secure connected landscapes linking national parks and reserves, and also critical resources needed by wildlife through: 

  • build greater benefits for communities from conservation

  • improving rural livelihoods

  • ensuring community buy-in to conservation

       (89% of the land under conservancies is managed by communities)

  • contributing to securing and improving revenues from nature-based industries critical to Kenya’s GDP

      (tourism, artisanal production, and livestock management) 



between Conservancies, National Parks, & Sanctuaries


Conservancies are large areas of land, often next to or around national parks. As there are no fences, the wildlife wanders freely. The revenues from staying in the conservancy are used to conserve wildlife but also help improve the quality of life of communities around the conservancies. For example, through building water wells or schools. With educating and helping communities, they do not have to interfere with the wildlife and having to resort to harming animals to survive.


National parks are run by the  government and are designated areas of important natural beauty. They offer legal protection within its borders.


Tsavo NP (Kenya)

Serengeti NP (Tanzania)

Nyungwe Forest NP (Rwanda)

Murchisson Falls NP (Uganda)


Sanctuaries are meant for the rescue and rehabilitation of injured or endangered animals. 


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160 conservancies

in Kenya, covering 11% of its land mass

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Over 700 000 community households

derive direct benefits from conservancies



76 are on community land
142 camps & eco-lodges

with more than 2 400 beds are hosted in Kenyan conservancies

Over 2900 rangers

are employed to patrol and monitor conservancies

Image by Dylan Mullins
72% of Southern White Rhino

in Kenya, 45% of Black Rhinos, & 90% of Grevy's zebras are found in conservancies




Rangers play a very critical role in protecting wildlife and people within and outside the conservancies through patrolling, combating poaching, engaging with local communities, managing fires, assisting with tourism and monitoring wildlife.


Patrolling is integral in helping rangers combat wildlife crime by scouting for signs of illegal activity such as snares and traps set up by poachers. It also helps rangers to spot and manage fires that threaten wildlife.

Rangers assist in conservation work by engaging with local communities to educate them on the importance and utility of conserving wildlife and their habitats. They also help in managing human-wildlife conflict, which is an ongoing issue due to the rate at which the human population is growing and the ever-changing land use.


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challenges rangers face

Rangers are the frontline defenders of wildlife, yet the critical role they play is often under-estimated or even in some cases overlooked.


Conservancies occur in remote areas which are often under-developed. The areas rangers patrol are often expansive and rugged with poor internet connectivity and impassable roads. These factors significantly affect rangers’ communication, mobility and navigation which in turn could pose a potential risk to the security of wildlife. 

A significant proportion of rangers employed in the community conservancies (which constitute the majority) are often drawn from the local community. The pastoral community living within wildlife areas are generally illiterate. Rangers drawn from such communities therefore only rely on their traditional knowledge and therefore lack the technical capacity to do their work. This makes them vulnerable to the many risks associated with their work such as contraction of diseases, injuries or even deaths. This is even made worse by the fact that most conservancies are not able to support the provision of rangers with the requisite equipment they need for their safety in the field, monitoring, transport and communication.


Lack of both technical capacity by rangers coupled with inadequate or no equipment not only make rangers’ work uphill task but also endangers their lives and that of their families. The situation has worsened with the effects of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic because conservancies are not financed directly by the government through budget appropriation. Now the community conservancies who are usually on modest pay, have been put on half salaries while others have been sent on compulsory leave as the conservancies lack adequate equipment to keep up with the Government protocols for the pandemic. These challenges if not urgently and adequately addressed could potentially lead to a spike in illegal activities within the conservancies leading to loss of wildlife, deprivation of livelihood as well as increased mortalities of these defenders.


How EAWLS HelpS Rangers

EAWLS developed a programme for the community conservancy rangers in 2017 premised on improving the capacity of rangers to effectively deliver their mandates by addressing the aforementioned challenges. The programme also aims to appreciate and recognise the critical role that the rangers play in protecting our natural heritage. It specifically improves the capacity of rangers through tailored training as well as provision of equipment for transport, communication and data management.


The training covers patrols, ecological monitoring, field safety, professional ethic, first aid, radio communication and any other topics proposed by the conservancy managers. The equipment being donated include ranger care (tents, sleeping bags, camel packs, security boots, rechargeable torches and raincoats), motorbikes (transport), binoculars, cameras, smartphones, and GPS units (data collection).

Since the inception of the pandemic, EAWLS with generous donations of its partners has trained 20 rangers and donated 60 pairs of security boots, 30 motorbikes, 16 portable camping tents, and 60 sleeping bags. It costs on average USD 200 to train a ranger and USD 300 to provide a care box for one ranger. We would like to conduct more training and provide more equipment to reach more rangers spread across the country.

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Want to know more? 

Contact us and ask!