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Najib Balala, CS Tourism & Wildlife
Margaret Mwakima, PS Tourism & Wildlife
Julius Kimani, Acting DG KWS
Dr Betty Addero Radier, CEO, Kenya Tourism Board
Lucy Karume, Director Tourism and Environment, KEPSA (Kenya Private Sector Alliance)
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Born Free Foundation
African Elephant Coalition
We the people of Kenya and the world urge the Kenyan government to relegate the counter-productive and failed model of consumptive use to ‘the colonial archives’ where it belongs and further, to dismantle the task force assembled to reintroduce it. Kenya has stood at the forefront of conservation for decades, leading the charge against the illegal wildlife trade by burning ivory stockpiles and banning hunting. Our approach has been conservation centered on community needs and cultural values resulting in meaningful, believable and impactful outcomes for people and wildlife. Now, a newly assembled task force is looking into consumptive utilization, a model that previously failed and failed miserably.
The “new” approach raises many questions and concerns:
- Farmed wildlife is an oxymoron: Can we really call consumptive use conservation? Game farming focuses on single species and verifiably leads to depletion of wild populations and homogeneity.
- Game farming/ranching is an expensive business: Do poor communities benefit from consumptive use? Elites control benefits coming from community game ranches, creating a divisive culture and inequitable distribution of profits.
- Consumptive use is a colonial model: Will this magnify the divide between rich and poor and split the country along racial lines? In South Africa a majority of ranch owners are white and almost every low-paid ranch worker is black.
- There are substantial hidden costs to consumptive use: Will it lead to landscape fragmentation and wildlife population declines? Will it actually increase human-wildlife conflict? In South Africa game ranches are enclosed by fortified fences, cutting off wild animals from food, water and potential mates, causing population collapses. Furthermore, game farming around the world has led to increased killing of leopards, elephants, and lions as ranchers protect their farmed animals by killing iconic species; species highly valued by the tourism industry and species integral to maintaining vulnerable ecosystems.
- The world is moving towards ethical tourism: How will consumptive use impact Kenya's tourism? Our non-consumptive, anti-hunting policy attracts tourists seeking eco friendly, ethical safaris. Tourists will boycott Kenya and go elsewhere.
- Game meat is expensive: how can consumptive use address food security issues? The cost of production makes game meat an exclusive product reserved for elites and export only, placing it beyond the reach of those most in need.
- Game farms/ranches only benefit a few people: Should we trade the more ethical, equitable and impactful model for one that has failed us before? Photographic lodges operate year-round employing more people and creating better and more sustainable career opportunities.
- We have been here before: What has changed in Kenya since the last failed “cropping” experiment? The Kenya Wildlife Service did not have the capacity or resources to monitor the previously failed cropping programme. Capacity and resources continue to be constrained today.
- Kenyans have conserved wildlife for centuries: Has “anyone” asked the people of Kenya whether we want to farm wildlife and consume game meat? The previously failed “experiment” demonstrated that Kenyans were -clearly- not interested. Informed and inclusive dialogue must be established to draw any believable conclusions on consumptive utilization.
Join us: Say no to consumptive use and divisive profiteering at the cost of our wildlife and our people. Banish consumptive utilization to the archives and dismantle the task force.