Tourism resource management and community participation - the case of Naboisho conservancy in Masai Mara Kenya
Kenya‟s tourism resources are diverse. Wildlife is one of the major attractions. Over the years, there has been ambiguity in the management of this resource. Traditionally, the state has protected wildlife through the protected area approach. This is in spite of studies that show that 70% of wildlife lives outside protected areas in private and community land. Legislation has played a key role in promoting the stand of the state in management of wildlife. The Wildlife legislation, for example, perceives wildlife as a national resource owned by the state irrespective of where it occurs. The state is therefore the owner/manager by default. The state has equated ownership to right of exclusive protection and management. Over the last 10 years, through the works of civil society communities that live with 70% of wildlife on their land have become aware of the benefits and opportunities for managing wildlife. They have changed tactic. Instead of confronting the state, they have organised themselves and formed community wildlife conservancies, to manage and benefit from wildlife without ownership. Naboisho conservancy is one such community conservancy. This paper aims to demonstrate the significance of all stakeholder participation in management, ownership notwithstanding, and why law and practice should be harmonised. The paper will further suggest major principles behind management that generate benefits using the community conservancy model.