We believe that protected areas go far beyond mere wildlife conservation and instead have the potential to improve livelihoods, unite communities, promote wildlife and community coexistence, strengthen local democracy, and preserve cultures and traditions.Dickson Kaelo, CEO of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association
The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to the collapse of tourism in most parts of the world. Among them, Kenya is one of the most affected countries where its wildlife reserves are threatened due to the absence of tourists and economic instability. Social isolation as well as travel restrictions due to the coronavirus led to total uncertainty about the future of tourism. The nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries in Kenya became more and more threatened by the pandemic.
Wildlife reserves account for more than 11% of Kenya's land. These reserves are based on landowners and community dwellers. They use the land to protect the wildlife and the tourists who are there to see the rich wildlife reserves and animals. Travelers who choose Conservancies for their safari in Kenya are contributing to the local community. They also help the safari camps to create employment opportunities.
However, when people stopped leaving their homes, these wildlife sanctuaries were affected immensely. If the situation continues, it will also be a challenge for communities in Kenya, as tourism is one of the country's main sources of income and employment.
The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
The virus has massively affected the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya. The sanctuary takes in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves and releases them back into the wild. It helps conserve wildlife, natural resources and the environment. Right now, Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, like all other wildlife sanctuaries in Kenya, is in survival mode.
To preserve wildlife sanctuaries, says the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary Manager, "they need to spur more efforts across the country that will lead to community-led conservation efforts becoming the norm as communities know and can see for themselves the value of nature in their lives." Find the full interview here.
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