- With 75% of Kenya’s wildlife living outside the parks on a seasonal or permanent basis, the scope of KWS’s management is much wider than the physical boundaries of the country’s parks and reserves. The variety and abundance of wildlife, in particular the large cats, remain important attractions for visitors. Yet increasing pressure on ecosystems from population growth, industrial and agricultural expansion, and urban encroachment means fewer wildlife dispersal areas and migration corridors.
Wildlife statistics, however, are on the upturn. Gone are the grim days of the mid-1980s, when a decade of heavy poaching had left the rhino on the verge of extinction in Kenya and decinated the country’s once plentiful elephant herds. A consistent and effective antipoaching campaign and management programme has boosted the rhino population to 450, up from 350 a decade ago, and enabled the elephant population to expand by a thousand animals per year, or about 5% annually.
The new Meru National Park headquarters was designed by Triad Architects to enhance KWS’s accessibility to the local community. Work started in March 1995 on an office block, a guardhouse, an armoury, a central vehicle workshop, officer and ranger housing, and a dispensary and canteen open to the local community as well as KWS staff. The package also includes an education centre with classrooms, a visitor’s canteen and hostel, and four new classrooms for Murera Primary School, located nearby.
A goal for 1994-95 was to improve park and reserve management with better use of natural resources, enhanced communications and greater emphasis on collaboration with local communities. Wardens assumed responsibility and accountability as park managers.
The focus on community involvement and support brought rewarding dividends in terms of animal numbers and the use of funds and resources. Forums for local-level decision making were ser up in the Tana River Primate Reserve; the Hell’s Gate, Longonot and Lake Naivasha areas; Aberdare, Lake Nakuru and Nairobi national parks; and Mombasa and Diani-Chale marine national parks. The Mwaluganje Community Conservation Project demonstrated the success of community involvement and the benefits of wildlife for local revenues with its elephant sanctuary at the foot of the Shimba Hills.
Infrastructure remained a vital concern in order to keep the parks and reserves open and accessible for tourism, management, security and antipoaching activities. New equipment and vehicles used to maintain the network of roads and tracks and improvements to administrative facilities in Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Nairobi parks were obtained under the JICA project. Vehicles rehabilitated under an ODA-funded project were put back into action in many parks.
The coast was a particular focus of attention with the recognition that the coastal parks and reserves too must be managed in conjunction with users, whether hoteliers, restaurateurs, tour operators, vendors or local communities. Tremendous efforts were made to involve local communities in beach management plans at Diani, Kisite, Mombasa and Malindi/Watamu. A new facility, Diani-Chale Marine National Park and Reserve, was gazetted in June 1995.
Tsavo East, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli, Tsavo West and Nairobi national parks received the most visitors in 1994-95. Tsavo East, honoured as the Best National Park of 1994, recorded improved revenue collection as a result of new visitor facilities and the new ticketing system.
- The Community Wildlife Service, with the objective of preserving biodiversity by recognizing the rights of local communities and the impact wildlife has on their livelihood, played a vital role in the changing Kenya Wildlife Service of 1994-95.
An independent probe into the human-wildlife conflict in Kenya brought alarming findings into the open: Wildlife numbers in most districts have declined between 30 and 50% in the last twenty years, and the conflict between people and animals is worsening. Without drastic measures, the future for wildlife in most areas of Kenya is bleak. Most landowners and community leaders, however, said they would protect wildlife if they benefited from it financially.
The team of forty Community Wildlife Service field officers, backed up by fifteen officers in Nairobi, worked closely with fifteen wardens and rangers to build or restore confidence in KWS as a protector of both communities and wildlife. CWS carried out fencing, noise deterrence and herding measures to prevent elephant and buffalo from raiding crops.
To encourage community participation in conservation by improving economic returns from wildlife, communities surrounding parks and reserves were assisted in registering more than forty self-help projects for activities as diverse as butterfly farming, irrigation, harvesting, reforestation, commercial trapsort, schoolds and clinics. Some projects received direct funding and others technical assistance and infrastructural support from KWS in partnership with donors.
Water supply is a vital concern of every community. Many women walk miles to collect water, and livestock herded into parks, grazing on the way to access dams, rivers and springs, damages the parks’ resources. In 1994-95, KWS supported a number of projects to pipe water outside the parks to reduce the need for local communities to enter them. Rainfall catchment tanks linked to a pipe and standpipe system provided the solution where no other water source was available.
(FORMERLY RESEARCH & PLANNING)
- During 1995, the Scientific Services Department and the Planning Unit merged to form the Biodiversity Department. The new department is charged with responsibilities including biodiversity inventory and monitoring, environmental impact assessment and preparation of management plans for protected areas.
In Ruma National Park, the 1995 roan antelope census showed a 30% decline in numbers in a single year. Only twenty-two of these fragile and beautiful antelope remain in Kenya, and the roan
The major threat to the roan, which is popular for its skin and meat, is subsistence poaching exacerbated by disease and other natural pressures on a small population. A high, heavy growth of grass due to intensive rains, for instance, discouraged the grazers-kongoni, oribi, topi, jackson’s hartebeest and buffalo, in addition to roan antelope-in Ruma National Park. These animals began to move outside the park, where local communities burn grass regularly to maintain arable pasture, making them more vulnerable to poaching.
To retain the grazers inside the park, KWS began controlled burning inside the park to draw the wildlife back to safety. Other protective measures include a new ranger’s post at the southern end of the park and chain-link fencing around three-quarters of the park.
Biodiversity monitoring and management activities in the department’s first year included detailed animal censuses and aerial wildlife counts, pollution monitoring, marine conservation programmes for sea turtle, dugong, roan and sable antelope, and rhino.
The department carried out quarterly animal censuses in Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks and undertook aerial counts of wildlife species in Tsavo, Meru and Ruma national parks. Biodiversity inventories carried out in Ol Donyo Sabuk, Ruma and Ndere national parks and in Kisumu Impala Sanctuary assessed wildlife population figures and seasonal patterns of movement.
Lake Nakuru National Park was the focus of intensive research on bushbuck, zebra, eland and buffalo, as well as a study of habitat utilization by the park’s growing population of Rothchild’s giraffe. The Lake Nakuru Research Station monitored water quality in Lakes Nakuru, Elmentaita and Bogoria for the Wetland Programme.
In the Aberdares, the department initiated species-monitoring programmes for bongo, giant forest hog and lion and analysed animal trends and diversity in the forest and national park.
As part of habitat management, the Fire Programme continued using controlled burning in Ruma, Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks and in Shimba Hills National Reserve to improve pasture, influence wildlife distribution and prevent animals from moving outside protected areas.
The department’s main activities in support of the Rhino Programme were ecological assessments and habitat-sustaining studies of Amboseli, Mount Kenya and Ruma national parks and Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary.
Using research data, the department’s planning team prepared management plans for Lake Nakuru, Nairobi, Tsavo and Mombasa Marine national parks and for Rimoi National Reserve and Kisumu Impala Sanctuary. Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) preceded fencing projects in Tsavo East and Mount Kenya national parks and Shimba Hills National Reserve, and an additional EIA was required for a power transmission line proposed for Mount Kenya National Park.
The department is preparing a project proposal for the Tsavo/Amboseli Biodiversity Pilot Programme, which will emphasize ecological, social and economic linkages in its approach to conservation, to be funded by the ODA.
In Tsavo, the department began work to rehabilitate the park’s elephant exclosures. Vegetation surveys of the exclosures will generate information on the role of large herbivores and fire in modifying woody vegetation.
The July 1995 count of hirola antelope (Hunter’s hartebeest), the fifth most endangered species in the world, revealed shocking news: The 25 scientists and researchers, backed-up by the KWS Airwing Unit, who fcarried out the comprehensive survey counted only 302 hirola in the entire study area.
Although thet originally ranged as far as the Cape of Africa, hirola now frequent only southwestern Somalia and the southern, southeastern and northern parts of Garissa, the Tana River and Lamu in Kenya, where their population has declined dramatically in the last twenty years. In 1973, researchers counted 13,000 hirola in Kenya, but by 1993 their number was estimated to as low as 2,500, suggesting a decline of 86%.
In 1994, KWS, the International Union forthe conservation of Nature, the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya’s Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing, the African Wildlife Foundation and the East African Wildlife Society formed a task force to investigate the plight of this species and come up with an action plan to prevent extinction. As a lack of information on the hirola’s population status and distribution made this impossible, KWS agreed to organize a survey to collect this vital data.
The study area of more than 20,000 km2 was divided into seventeen blocks and surveyed using the latest systematic aerial methods. The aircraft flew along north-south transects at 1 km intervals, combining the entire block to ensure that all animals were counted. Observers in the aircraft recorded the position where each hirola was sighted using a global positioning system (GPS).
A helicopter was used to collect and identify various plant species found in the hirola range. A few animals were darted to allow the survey team to assess the condition and genetic variability of individual members of the species.
The majority of hirola sighted were adult in the Tana River National Primate Reserve, Ijara and Bura. Based on information collected from the field, the main causes of their decline have been poaching, rinderpest and increased competition with domestic livestock for rangeland. The 85% decline in numbers over the 1993 estimate means the hirola could become extinct at any time.
With the news accurate data, the Hirola Task Force can complete its action plan against extinction. Security already has been increased on the east bank of the Tana River, where the most animals were sighted. Plans are underway to translocate some animals to sanctuaries to protect them and allow numbers to build once again.
Following the uncertainties and contractual delays of 1993, in 1994-95 the Technical Services Department secured renewed full or interim funding in key areas. Of particular importance were the World Bank agreement to retender the Lake Nakuru National Park Project and the European Union’s approval of projects to complete the Tsavo East electric fence and Migwara School and Sand River community projects in the Maasai Mara.
LAND ROVER FLEET BACK IN ACTION
ODA funding made it possible for Technical Services’ Mechanical Section to rehabilitate twenty Land Rover 109s, which were returned to active service in Mount Kenya, Tsavo, Maralal, Embu, Meru, Marsabit, Amboseli and Aberdare
The new KWS headquarters at Nairobi National Park, begun in 1992, was completed this year and some offices occupied. As part of the headquarters package, Technical Services designed and built a new central veterinary facility, including an operating theatre, adjacent to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage.
The new central workshop facility, located outside the Langata Gate of Nairobi National Park, also neared completion. Consolidating the majority of service and inspection activities in house at this new facility will afford the Mechanical Section, which is responsible for maintainig KWS’s extensive fleet of vehicles and heavy equipment, more scope for field support.
The Mechanical Section backed up a KWS community-support project to improve the road system in the Maasai Mara National Reserve by rehabilitating a bulldozer, a frontloader and a generator. In addition, the department rehabilitated tractors for the Isiolo County Council, to be used in Samburu National Reserve.
The department also accepted delivery of vehicles and equipment from JICA for Nairobi and Tsavo national parks.
To strengthen KWS as an institution in 1994-95, the Human Resources team worked to esstablish workable and effective management systems that would allow managers to assume responsibility for decision making and manage their teams effectively with solid co-operation from their colleagues.
As a start, the department filled eight of the eleven vacant senior KWS posts. A new public relations office was established, the internal audit department fully staffed, a donor liaison officer recruited and the Elephant Programme totally revamped. The Planning and Research division was transformed into the Biodiversity Department and a computerized management information system introduced throughout KWS.
Introduction of a job-analysis and -evaluation system bridged a crucial gap in human resources management. Employees were asked to fill in job-analysis questionaired, and their responses were supported by qualitative research and individual interviews. This process sensitized employees to their roles and resulted in a new grading and classification structure with updated job descriptions. Once people’s jobs and objectives had been clarified and were better understood, the foundation was laid for employees to become more focused on their responsibilities, enabling them to track and evaluate their own performances.
A remuneration survery led to development of a new performance -related remuneration structure that incorporated the needs of both performance and career development.
To ensure uniform treatment of staff grievances; harmonize procedures; institute transparency, accountability and equitability; and devolve decision making to the field, the department developed a human-resources policy and procedures manual, which was presented to the KWS Board for approval.
In order to further harmonize procedures and ensure equitable treatment of all employees, Human Resources also undertook studies of motor vehicle policies and procedures in other organizations with the goal of implementing a transport pool system and internal vehicle check unit early in 1996; the Nairobi rental housing market, the results of which will be discussed with the board of trustees with a view to encouraging employees to purchase their own homes; and training needs within the entire organization (still ongoing).
The newly activated Assets Management Committee deliberated on a hundred cases of loss and misuse of KWS property and recommended tightening loss-report and vehicle-accident-report procedures.
The department also began rationalizing KWS’s registry indexing system, which will facilitate retrieval of information throughout the organization, and commenced development of a KWS archive for storage of valuable old records.
The Commercial Department received a boost to its operations with interim funding from the ODA, which made it possible to recruit four new team members in 1994.
Two years of departmental research and planning culminated in May 1995 in the successful implementation of a new parks ticketing system. Improvements in revenue collection were instantaneous, thanks to the system’s simplicity and efficiency in minimizing loopholes that permit fraud and corruption. The new tickets have a special security hologram and an eye-catching design that provides visitors with information on KWS’s role, as well as an attractive souvenir of each visit to a Kenyan park.
In 1994-95, the Commercial Department oversaw a major pricing and tourism study, conducted in consultation with members of the local and international travel industry. The main recommendation was a wildlife tourism strategy for kenya that would both increase revenue, helping KWS achieve its goal of becoming self-financing, and make tourism in Kenya more environmentally friendly. Another proposal was the introduction of price differentials to help reduce congestion in the most popular parks, attract visitors to less well-known areas and further improve revenue collection.
The department also put in place strategic plans for commercial revenue, tourism development and marketing, including a marketing database and information system and ongoing market research to ensure the KWS keeps abreast of developments in the private sector.
To facilitate the Commercial Department’s goals of enhancing tourist facilities in parks and reserves and developing ecotourism attractions, three prospectuses were published to advertise a total of seventeen lodge and tented-campe sites in Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Meru, Aberdare and Mount kenya national parks. Upon their completion, the department also promoted the new cafe-bistro and restaurant adjacent to the main gate of Nairobi National Park to ensure that KWS secures the best partners to operate these facilities.
Another major project was the publication of a sophisticated, full-colour tour planner with comprehensive information on Kenya’s fifty-nine parks and reserves. Circulation of the planner within the travel industry will increase awareness of the wide range of options and attractions Kenya has to offer.
The KWS commercial team and three park wardens also attended the 1995 World Travel Market in London to further publicize Kenya as a tourist destination.
Thanks to the vigilance of the KWS Security Department, in 1994-95, for the third year running, not a single security incident involving local or international visitors took place within Kenya’s national parks.
Security officers, in conjunction with rangers in all parks, undertook intensive daily foot and vehicular patrols. Intensive information gathering also played a strong part in preventing both security incidents and poaching.
Security worked closely with the Airwing Unit to maintain aerial surveillance of the parks and their wildlife, on the lookout for possible incursions by armed bandits or livestock thieves herding stolen animals through the parks. Commercial poaching has been all but eradicated, and subsistence poaching on the fringes of parks continued on the downturn.
Intelligence gathering led to the recovery of 216 kilos of ivory and 86 skins and to the successful prosecution of a UNOSOM official for illegally importing game trophies, including ivory carvings and a cheetah skin.
Theft by fraud also was contained, thanks to the new ticketing system and Security’s Ticket Inspection Unit, set up in February 1995 as part of the department’s new Investigation Unit.
Security officers attended regular training and refresher courses at Manyani Field Training School throughout the year.
As part of the programme to revitalize KWS’s institutional strength, the Director’s Office set up an in-house public relations office and commenced a major proactive local and international media campaign. Key messages to build confidence in the future of KWS, publicize its operations and counter the inaccurate, outdated image Kenya has acquired as an unsafe, insecure tourist destination werre identified and delivered through dthe media and other means.
Working closely with the Commercial Department’s communications office, the public relations team, under the leadership of the newly appointed head of public relations, designed a programme of countrywide celebrations for the golden anniverary of Kenya’s parks in 1996-97. Their theme will bePARKS BEYOND PARKS, reflecting the role communities outside the parks will play in securing the future of Kenya’s wildlife.
The Legal Office and Internal Audit were strengthened in 1994-95. The Computer Section successfully set up and began managing its financial systems implementation project, part of the management information systems project funded by the ODA to support KWS’s human-resources strategy. The new FSIP allows for greater commercialization and improved financial control; improved operational efficiency and decision making, at headquarters and in the field; enlarged capacity to accommodate significant operational growth; and improved and sustainable management information systems capability.
Other achievements included computerization of the payroll; support to the Commercial Department in planning, programming and implementing the new parks ticketing procedures; and development of a tour-driver monitoring system in close co-operation with the tourism industry to make sure drivers abide by the rules, especially for park entry and off-road driving.
Throughout the year, the Geographical Information Systems Unit worked closely with all field divisions including the Wetland Programme to set up workable research databases. Research support included surveys of Nairobi National Park’s rhino distribution, elephant and buffalo distribution in the Tsavo ecosystem, marine animal distribution, and habitat utilization and species distribution in Lake Nakuru National Park. Other activities including GPS marking of vegetation sampling points at Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo East and in Ndere National park. For the Forest Programme, the GIS unit acquired comprehensive data on indigenous forests from KIFCON and supported the Mangrove Mapping Project.
This year, the Finance Department established a policy on financial procedures for payments processing to clarify the various stages that payments undergo. Work is continuing on procurement procedures to close a number of loopholes that suppliers have exploited in the past.
The department also began putting in place a new Financial Systems Implementation Programme, for which the services of temporary specialist personnel was required. Work on the FSP will continue in 1995-96.
The Finance Department, in conjunction with the Human Resources Department, continued to support staff training, especially in accounting and computer science. Finance is now 95% computer literate.
Finally, in April 1995, Finance moved to Ndovu Court, the newly completed KWS headquarters. With the department’s previously scattered staff now together under one roof, a new attitude of trust and greater efficiency is evident in departmental operations.
DRAFT REVENUE ACCOUNT FOR THE PERIOD ENDED 30 JUNE 1995*
Debtors 370,393 418,460
Deposits 17,222 3,966
Bank Balances & Cash 102,667 43,964
Creditors 230,753 157,814
Bank Overdrafts 37,502 14,746
NET CURRENT ASSETS 471,162 411,277
NET ASSETS 3,128,613 2,771,864
Capital Reserves (MTW) 1,271,887 1,271,887
Capital Donors Funds 1,487,634 1,107,175
LONG-TERM LIABILITY (MTW) 20,537 32,537
Accumulated Surplus 355,555 360,265
CAPITAL EMPLOYED 3,128,613 2,771,864
* All figures are in Ksh’000. Exchange Rate: US$1 = Kshs.60.00