From Marseille to Kenya: Fighting The Global March of conservation colonialism

Putting on my scientist’s hat, I have examined the findings and numbers as compared to what I already knew, and the less I say about them the better. There is nothing in there that I can find any use for. When touting this project, KWS told us that they were counting wildlife in order to plan. When the egg is released, the embryo will continue to grow. One thing Saint-Denis i would really like to highlight today is that you have two options to choose from in the product range of differin. Not all of these are meant to treat all types of depression. Do you know what the best avodart brands in canada are? You can also use it in cases of kidney infections, where the antibiotic also can lower the risk of recurrence and prevent infection from returning.you can also use it to Novaya Balakhna price of clomid in lagos treat acne, eczema, and inflammation. Clomid is a generic form of the drug clomiphene citrate. However, there are some drugs that cannot be obtained without a prescription, or if the drug is very expensive. The online clomid prescription since most common side effects are constipation, abdominal cramping, and drowsiness. The cheapest online prices on amoxicillin are found here. Plan what exactly? I can understand the importance of counts in situations where there is hunting. Obviously, it is interesting to know how many we have of various species, but how is this a priority here in Kenya, given all the resource challenges already faced by KWS? Do 200 elephants need a longer corridor than 10 elephants? Do 10 elephants need less security than 100 elephants? True conservation practice is qualitative, only the dysfunctional consumptive western model of the same is quantitative. That is why there are no megafauna left in the west. One day, our wildlife sector will hopefully gain the intellectual depth required to understand this. The quality of the work is summarized by the fact that they report that there are 10 vervet monkeys in the Amboseli-Magadi ecosystem, yet I know that you can see more than that number from your window without leaving the room at Amboseli Serena Lodge. What then, is the purpose of this report, being that it is so lacking in technical/ statistical quality? These numbers are a distraction from the prose, which contains all the western neo-colonial underpinnings that myself and colleagues have been fighting against for the last few days, here in France. Being a notoriously imperceptive society, over 99% of us haven’t noticed it, with my brothers Gatu Mbaria and Johnny Namnai being the only 2 exceptions I noticed. These two friends of mine picked up on the recommendation number 4 “There is need for review of legislation to recognize community conservancies as protected areas as they constitute important wildlife range”. This is an express recommendation to take away people’s homes and turn them into protected areas. This however, only refers to community conservancies, so the private ones (Lewa, Ol Jogi, Ol Pejeta, etc) belonging to wealthy (Caucasian) owners would be left untouched. These are the people perpetually being served by our wildlife-cum- tourism sector. The greatest danger to our pastoralist communities and the wildlife they share their lands with is the unbearable “whiteness” that pervades the sector. It is worth noting that the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies association hasn’t said a word, yet the CEO is a board member at Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI). The Conservation Alliance of Kenya has said nothing (although I have learned not to expect anything from them). Here is the evidence in an excerpt from the conclusions on Page 110; “There has been an influx of livestock into the key wildlife ecosystem like Laikipia-Samburu-Meru-Marsabit, Tsavo, Maasai Mara and Lamu-Lower Garissa. This scenario will possibly affect the wildlife species negatively as their habitats become encroached and competition for resources (water, space and forage) increase. As such, displaced of wildlife is likely to occur as they avoid competition with the livestock. This was observed in Laikipia-SamburuMarsabit-Meru Ecosystem, where it is believed elephants relocated to the hilly areas in the ecosystem, which made it difficult for the census team to sight and count them leading to an overall recording of less population than was recorded in 2017. Such incursions also fuel poaching as most herdsmen are armed with automatic weapons.” Before taking their land, you must first vilify pastoralists.

  1. Whiteness 1. Use livestock as a euphemism for pastoralist people so you pretend you’re not targeting them. Livestock don’t walk or graze alone
  2. Whiteness 2. Use words like ‘influx’ (or incursion or invasion) to imply that these people are ‘coming in’ from somewhere and this is not their home
  3. Whiteness 3. Call them poachers. Herdsmen will not jeopardize their precious herds worth millions of shillings and immense pride to shoot wild animals that are of no use to them. That is why there are megafauna across Kenyan rangelands occupied by pastoralists. Lastly, when there is a criminal out to shoot an elephant for ivory, this is a highly dangerous and difficult mission. What level of stupidity would advise him to take a herd of cows on his mission? Even those who go out to steal baby elephants for their orphanages aren’t accompanied by cows!

The census may have many purposes within the institution of KWS, which I am not privy to. However, as an external policy scholar, the only “benefits” I can see accruing from this “census” are:

  1. An institutionalization of policy to take land away from citizens and turn it into protected areas.
  2. Access to western funding to finance the above policy (they are currently discussing the huge amounts of money here in Marseille
  3. Larry Madowo’s wonderful report, which actually raised his professional standing within CNN

This places us in a very vulnerable situation and I would be delighted to be proved wrong, though I fear I am right. I tip my hat to the several PhD holders in the list of authors. I am glad that their names will remain prominent for posterity as experts in the history of Kenya’s conservation sector. The saddest part of this is that I am forced to face the fact that our wildlife sector can only be one of two things; Intellectually incapable of understanding what is going on here, or complicit in it, neither of which bears thinking about.

It is somehow lucky that they have released this report at this time, because it is a learning moment. It offers a perfect snapshot of the conservation colonialism that we’re fighting against in the entire global south. Aluta continua.

This article is dedicated to the late Said Wabera, a pillar in the fight against the pirates who scheme to disenfranchise us through contrived “CONservation” Rest well, brother (Passed August 22, 2021)

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13 thoughts on “From Marseille to Kenya: Fighting The Global March of conservation colonialism

  1. Lydiah Njoroge

    “Call them poachers. Herdsmen will not jeopardize their precious herds worth millions of shillings and immense pride to shoot wild animals that are of no use to them.”
    This debunks the whole poachers myth. Keep fighting the good fight Dr. Ogada

  2. Ngeny

    Fighter Ogada, I stand to salute you for your Intellectual Honesty & Courage even at the centre of rumbling CON-servancy volcano. With your brothers, armed with knowledge and love for Afrika and Global South, Solder on.

  3. RICHARD MUTUA MZUNGU

    An eye opening article. It speaks sense and gives a detailed analysis of the so called ‘KWS wildlife census’.
    I cry for my Country, when a whole government institution conducts a survey geared towards a particular outcome meant to benefit the rich in the sector!

  4. Eliakim Mbwana

    Excellent article.
    I’m mainly touched by these statements;
    “…only “benefits” I can see accruing from this “census” are:

    An institutionalization of policy to take land away from citizens and turn it into protected areas.
    Access to western funding to finance the above policy (they are currently discussing the huge amounts of money here in Marseille”

  5. As honararia warden and a believer in scientific evidence, I havent seen the approved report to give my comments and if possible I would request for the same to give my insights, and thanks for your insights That will ultimately trigger our consciousness to conservation in kenya. Our heritage deserve all our efforts and programming.

  6. Patrick Meshami

    We have been living well with our wild animals until when we suddenly turned to be intruders by institutional supported conspiracies in the name of ‘conservation’. Laikipia is more of ancestral to others and myself!

  7. Esther

    Thank you for this enlightening article, Dr. Ogada, which in turn induced a compulsion to read the Census Report.

    1. Your point No.2 above on ‘Access to western funding’ seems to be borne out in the Foreword to the Census Report (page (x) where the CS for Tourism says:

    “It is important to recognize and appreciate that maintaining this successful model [unhindered movement and distribution of wildlife] has a huge cost in terms of both finances required and impact on humans. It is therefore vital that the global community takes this cost as a shared responsibility. This calls for increased investment by development partners and also by the private sector in taking up a bigger role in the form of Public-Private Partnerships in biodiversity conservation and protected areas.”

    The PS in the State Department for Wildlife says at p.xi. that “The data will form the basis for future wildlife population monitoring as well as establishing real economic value of wildlife capital for reflections in the national budgeting process.”

    This appears to be a euphemism for something somewhat ominous.

    2. The predominant narrative in the report seems to cast the surrounding community members as a problem and a hindrance to the wildlife, rather than seeking to partner with them for the benefit of the people as well as the animals.

    This particular sentence on p.66 is quite telling: “The increasing human foot print i.e., settlement of nomadic pastoral communities along known historical elephant routes is a major concern.”

    3. There does not seem to be sufficient effort made to understand the community’s perspective on activities being carried out in the name of wildlife conservation.

    Example: This suspended/hanging paragraph on p.93:
    ” Despite the negative impacts on the lower Tana ecosystem, information is lacking on the current population dynamics of the Tana River mangabey, the Tana red colobus and changes on their habitat status. The last meaningful habitat and population assessment of the two primates was conducted in 2001, and unfortunately, due to community resistance and protest against the GEF project, mass destruction of the habitat ensued.”

    Did anyone bother to find out why the community ‘resisted’ and ‘protested’ against that project? Who/what caused the ‘mass destruction’ of the habitat spoken of? We are left to speculate. It does not appear as though the authors of the report know, either, and if they do, they do not explain.

    4. On p.101 is this paragraph: “The key threat to wildlife conservation and management in the county is land use / land cover changes. This is especially more so due to increased human related infrastructure development. In recent years, there has been enhanced mining and exploration of oil and other minerals in the county. This has led to increased human population from prospectors and visitors, and also interference with wildlife habitats.”

    One would be forgiven for thinking that these mining and exploration activities are occurring without the knowledge of the government. If mining activities are interfering with wildlife habitats, then the solution lies with the government that has approved these mining activities in wildlife-populated areas.

    5. A genuine question: What is the rationale for including camels, donkeys and ‘shoats’ in this wildlife census? This is in Mandera, Garissa and Wajir. (I must say that I had to Google ‘shoat’ and was quite perplexed to discover that the predominant meaning seems to be “a young pig, especially one which is newly weaned”, resulting in my questioning why areas populated largely by communities which identify with Islam were rearing pigs …. I see that ‘shoats’ is eventually clarified on p. 106 thus:
    “Other wildlife species counted included grant gazelle, lesser kudu, dik dik, and domestic livestock mainly cattle, camel, sheep and goats (Shoats).”

  8. Walter Ikamba

    “The saddest part of this is that I am forced to face the fact that our wildlife sector can only be one of two things; Intellectually incapable of understanding what is going on here, or complicit in it, neither of which bears thinking about.”

    You are much too kind, because the reality is overwhelming complicity.

  9. Joel Lesootia

    Well articulated as of now Samburu and pokot cows are herders are being massacred in the areas of Laikipia Nature Conservancy

  10. Ben Loreng

    The all story remain to be fact and we should watch those new conservancy registered in the name of communities but their structure seems to fovour few individuals. Thanks

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