People, Wildlife and Conservation in Samburu County, Kenya

Ashley Nicole Foster


In East African drylands, including Kenya’s Samburu County, pastoral livestock herders share the landscape and its resources with wildlife, presenting challenges for both people and wildlife. The purpose of this study is to identify the benefits and burdens of wildlife and wildlife conservation for local Samburu communities, across seasons. This is of interest because human-wildlife conflict is a major concern of wildlife conservation worldwide. In Kenya, conservation is an important contributor to the national economy, but it also contributes to conflicts at the local community level. Wildlife conservancies, community based efforts at natural resource conservation, have become major players in Kenya’s drylands and are an important mechanism of bringing conservation to local communities. In Samburu County, conservancies work to protect wildlife and provide local people with increased income and security. Interviews were conducted with fourteen Samburu pastoralists to explore the relationships between wildlife and communities, and communities and conservancies.  I expect to find evidence that most burdens of wildlife are experienced by Samburu communities in the dry season, a time of resource limitation. Many Samburu pastoralists expressed that they suffered several wildlife related losses, such as loss of human and livestock lives. These losses were, for most people, uncompensated, which presented hardship and is viewed as a cost of wildlife conservation. An official report will be returned to the communities who participated in this project hoping to bring increased understanding, communication and collaboration to both conservancies and local communities.


Wildlife, Samburu County, Kenya, Conservancies

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