IELRC.ORG - East Africa Office: Wildlife


Research Areas Africa

 1: biodiversity and biosafety
 2: intellectual property

 3: governance

 4: gender

 5: land


Special African Dossier: Wildlife

Wildlife in Africa is under threat from a number of factors including population pressure and migration, land use changes, over-harvesting of natural resources, climatic changes as well as trade in animal skins, meat and trophies.

In East Africa, as is the case in all regions with a significant wildlife population, there is hence an urgent need for active management of this resource. The approach taken by most African countries is the use of protected areas for conservation. Unfortunately, since wildlife is usually to be found in areas also occupied by humans this approach is often challenged on the basis that the enclosure of land for the exclusive preservation of wildlife would infringe on the rights of communities based on or around the area to use the land.

The above are examples of some of the issues facing wildlife management in the East African region. Dr Patricia Kameri-Mbote, IELRC Programme Director in East Africa, has widely written and provided advice on national and regional law and policy in East Africa to various actors ranging from communities, governments and donor agencies.


Selected Documents

Patricia kameri-Mbote
Nairobi: ACTS Press
date: 2002
abstract: Property rights are integral to the management of biological diversity. The sustainability of the diversity is predicated on the management of the ecosystem and habitats that host the diversity. This book looks at the implications of property rights holding on the management of biological resources. Using the example of land tenure and wildlife management in Kenya, the author demonstrates that for the property institution to be effective, the rights have to be allocated on a scale and at a level sufficient to insure that the entity which is best placed to manage the resources has complete control over the resources thus eliminating the possibility of contradictory rules being applied to one resource. She further argues that government ownership of land and wildlife resources constitutes in some respects a form of private property rights holding, since one central authority holds the rights. The author adopts the view that traditional notions of private property rights, whether vested in individuals or states are outmoded and unable to deal with the problems arising from wildlife management and that common property is important in dealing with these problems. Legal institutions for the protection of property rights need to recognise and protect the rights of local communities if property rights are to engender sustainable wildlife management in Kenya and avoid the "tragedy of the enclosure". In conclusion she avers that for property rights to engender sustainable management of biological diversity in Kenya, account has to be taken of diverse notions, actors and interests including communities and customary tenure arrangements. Along these lines, she proposes that tenure regimes should be aligned to land use systems to ensure that there is synergy between ownership and use of land.
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Sustainable Management of Wildlife Resources in East Africa - A Critical Analysis of the Legal, Policy and Institutional Frameworks

author(s): Patricia Kameri-Mbote
source: Working Paper 2005-5
date: 2005
abstract size 408 [KB]

Land Tenure, Land Use and Sustainability in Kenya: Towards Innovative Use of Property Rights in Wildlife Management

author(s): Patricia Kameri-Mbote
source: Working Paper 2005-4
date: 2005
abstract size 465 [KB]