News 2008


Fall in revenue stalls KWS

Daily Nation


11. March 2008

Kenya Wildlife Service is finding it difficult to carry out conservation projects planned for this year following a sharp decline in revenue collection.

“Our wildlife is now at risk. If tourists don’t come to visit our game parks and national parks, we shall not have anything with which to protect these animals,” the KWS communication manager, Mr Paul Udoto, said Monday.

Mr Udoto said since the post-election violence started, after the announcement of presidential election results on December 30, most tourists have kept away from Kenya.

As a result, all conservation projects that KWS had lined up to improve national parks, game parks and national reserves have been shelved.

Even projects meant to protect wildlife from poachers have been halted.

KWS had planned to buy 200 vehicles for anti-poaching patrols. They also wanted to buy more firearms and uniforms for their security personnel.

“We had also planned to conduct research on wildlife and set up a genetic and forensic laboratory.

“Unfortunately, all these projects cannot go on for lack of money,” Mr Udoto, who spoke to the Daily Nation by telephone, said.

At the weekend, Unep executive director Achim Steiner raised concern over the problems KWS is facing after tourists stopped visiting Kenya.

In a press statement, Mr Steiner expressed concern that KWS, which had last year earned US$28 million, is now unable to carry out its conservation projects aimed at promoting tourism.

Foreign exchange

Tourism has remained one of the main foreign exchange earners for Kenya.

Following the post-election violence, Mr Steiner noted in his statement, at least 25,000 people, directly employed in tourism-related industries, have lost their jobs.

Mr Steiner was, however, making efforts to appeal to people in the outside world to visit Kenya to see its flora and fauna as peace had been restored.

The prevailing calm followed the recent peace accord between President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga, which was brokered by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and his team. President Kibaki and Mr Odinga, the Prime Minister-designate, jointly made a similar appeal on Sunday when they visited Karen Golf Club in Nairobi during the Tusker Kenya Open Golf Championship.

The two leaders, who spent the day together assured the international community that Kenya is now stable.

And they passionately appealed to tourists worldwide to visit the country, saying the chaos caused by the outcome of the December elections is now a thing of the past.

Since KWS cannot sit and wait until tourists start trickling in to get money for carrying out its conservation projects, Mr Udoto said they are now targeting domestic tourists. “We are carrying out an aggressive campaign, telling Kenyans to come and enjoy our facilities during this Easter holiday,” he said.