Participatory spatial planning for reconciling human activities and conservation of Grevy’s Zebra (Equus grevyi) in Northern Kenya. A Case Study of Meibae Community Conservancy, Samburu
Authors: Daniel Letoiye
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Wide-ranging wildlife species in Northern Kenya have been facing immense pressure due to intensification of human activities in their natural habitats. This pressure has resulted in the decline of these species populations. Successful conservation should therefore address both species numbers and their habitat. This paper reports on a study of human activities and Grevy’s zebra habitat use in Northern Kenya, a case study of Meibae Community Conservancy. Participatory mapping, community workshops, Geographic Information System (GIS), ground truthing and use of global positioning system (GPS) radio collars were used to identify all human activities in the area and ecological areas important to Grevy’s zebra. The community-drawn maps were digitized; the resulting map was overlaid with the other layers of data collected by radio collars and ground truthing to compare with these parameters. In this example human activities are so intensive, that, nearly all the Grevy’s zebra habitats were converted into settlement areas. In addition most of these important ecological zones have been highly degraded by repeated human activities. Regression analysis was run and showed 85% negative correlation between Grevy’s zebra movement and human settlement. Analyses presented here are not only significant to species conservation, but are important in informing land use planning for sustainable biodiversity conservation and also restoring both species numbers and their habitat. For sustainable wildlife conservation in Northern Kenya, establishment of community owned conservancies, strengthening community benefits and developing sound land use planning will minimize human/wildlife conflict. This community-driven framework will also reconcile the existence of all parties. By doing this it will improve community livelihoods and instill a sense of ownership of wildlife and other natural resources.
Keywords: Grevy’s Zebra, Habitat, Participatory Mapping, GIS, Settlements, Livestock.