species are critical to traditional health systems, which predominate in most people’s physical and spiritual lives. These species are also under a degree of threat. A study conducted by TRAFFIC, a nongovernmental organization that monitors wildlife trade, examined medicinals in East and Southern Africa from 1995-97. Its findings (see Section 5.1.6) have implications not only for plant and animal medicinal species but also point to significant constraints that may be impending for traditional health systems throughout the region, and for conservation programs that hope to protect wildlife.
The USAID/Kenya Mission and its partners have identified five key areas as being of continuing importance and interest in its new program, called the Conservation of Biodiverse Resource Areas (CORE); it has written a program brief on natural resource management and biodiversity issues in these areas, which is attached in Annex 5. This annex is a detailed analysis – conducted by USAID partner organizations, particularly Pact – of potential "focal" areas the mission's planned programs could work in, based on previous work there and other current criteria. These areas include the following:
Laikipia – Samburu area
Greater Amboseli area
Greater Maasai-Mara area
South Coast area
These areas are under threat from a range of pressures and to different degrees. All afford some protection to wildlife. All continue, however, to see conflicts with the needs of people, whether private landowners and ranchers; smallholder agriculturalists; inappropriate numbers of tourists; or, pastoralists seeking adequate water supplies for their flocks (Ndirangu 2000). These are key issues affecting Kenya’s wildlife and biodiversity conservation sector throughout the country.
5.1.2. Wildlife tourism.
Tourism for wildlife viewing is an important component of the national economy and a source of pride for many Kenyans. In 1996, tourism in Kenya supported 11 percent of GDP and 18 percent of wage employment (Watson 1998). The tourism sector consists broadly of two primary types: beach-going vacationers largely from Europe and wildlife/safari tourism. Additional nature-based activities, such as snorkeling and scuba-diving, rafting, hiking, and boating, are gradually on the rise. Wildlife tourism is of far higher value per tourist than beach tourism; it contributed a full 5 percent of GDP in 1996 (USAID/Kenya 2000). In addition, its revenues are more widely distributed and benefit a greater number of Kenyan people as safari tourists generally are more mobile, visiting two to three parks and protected areas on average.
Both types of tourism have been affected negatively in recent years, eroded by external fears of internal conflict, long periods of bad weather, the U.S. Embassy bombing, and a perceived danger for foreigners in Kenya from crime and illness. Yet while these factors have been affecting tourism for three years, there do not seem to be many attempts within the Kenyan government to redress the problems. For example, the road network continues to decline. A recent economic survey of Kenya notes that there was a “further decline in the performance of the tourism sector [in 1998]: tourist arrivals fell by 10.6% from 1,000,000 to 894,300 while…the average length of stay fell by 18.6%, all resulting in a 22.7% drop in tourism earnings in 1998.” (Deloitte & Touche 1999). There was a corresponding drop in wildlife tourism, which has caused noticeable difficulties for community income-generation projects dependent on tourist dollars, and for KWS, which derives a significant percentage of its operating budget from wildlife-related tourism. Thus despite the efforts of projects like USAID Conservation of Biodiverse Resource Areas (COBRA) to promote devolution of tourism income to communities living in proximity to parks and wildlife, changes in behavior have been difficult to ascertain. Incentives have not been sufficiently large or regular to support conservation among many communities who bear the costs of damage to farm and family from wildlife incursions.
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