A  GUIDE TO 

THE WILDLIFE 

ACT OF KENYA 

(WCMA 2013)

A  GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE ACT OF KENYA (WCMA 2013)

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AUTHORS 
Robert Kaai 
Bhavik Shah 
Elizabeth Gitari 
Dr. Paula Kahumbu 
Bertha Kang’ong’oi

EDITOR
Rupi Mangat – Editor 

ARTIST
Ken Gitau 

DESIGNER
Ecomedia

© 2015. All rights are exclusively reserved to WildlifeDirect. No part of this publication may be reproduced, 
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, by any means, mechanical, photocopying, recording or 
otherwise, without the prior written permission of WildlifeDirect.

For more information contact: info@wildlifedirect.org

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The need for a guide to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) 
was guided by the outcome of a nationwide market survey by IPSOS Kenya. 
This Guide Book was produced by WildlifeDirect Staff and Interns involved in 
the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign. We appreciate the commitment of Her 
Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, who 
has lent her voice to wildlife conservation. This Guide Book would not have 
been possible without the technical input of over 400 people across Kenya. 
We wish to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations who made 
this possible; Big Life Foundation, Kenya Wildlife Service, Nature Kenya, Kenya 
Wildlife Conservancies Association, the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya and Ms Shamini 
Jayanathan. The project was funded by the Whitley Fund for Nature, African 
Wildlife Foundation and Nature Kenya. We welcome the endorsement of this 
work by the Chief Justice of Kenya Dr. Willy Mutunga, the Judiciary and the 
Judiciary Training Institute.  This Guide Book will be available country-wide as 
well as online and it will be used in training  the newly constituted County 
Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committees under the Wildlife 
Conservation and Management Act (2013).

A  GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE ACT OF KENYA (WCMA 2013)

MESSAGE FROM
THE FIRST LADY 
OF THE
REPUBLIC OF KENYA

The time has come for Kenyans to take the lead in matters of protecting our 
national heritage and pride. It is therefore commendable and a great step forward 
that Kenya has now a new law that more comprehensively protects our wildlife 
- the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013). 

The new law imposes the highest penalties on the continent - and if not in the 
world- to those who decimate and threaten our wildlife, especially the endangered 
species. It demonstrates the commitment of the Kenyan Government to protect 
our  wildlife. It also reflects the value that the Government has placed on our 
natural heritage.

This guide is designed to involve the Kenyan public in understanding this new law. 
It demonstrates ways in which the public can actively participate in protecting 
our wildlife. This guide is a call of duty for every Kenyan to protect and conserve 
our wild heritage as citizens of this country.

I am delighted to endorse this guide book. I invite every Kenyan to not only join 
hands to protect our wildlife, but to also understand the law as it concerns them 
in relation to wildlife.

Margaret Kenyatta - 

Patron of the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign

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MESSAGE FROM

THE CHAIRMAN OF

WILDLIFEDIRECT

WildlifeDirect is an organization that is committed to leadership in conservation 
policy and legislative reforms in Kenya. WildlifeDirect supported the formulation 
of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) that revolutionizes 
the conservation of wildlife in Kenya, especially the participation of communities 
in wildlife conservation.

Key among the reforms, are; the provision for stiffer penalties for wildlife crime, 
recognition of wildlife conservation as a form of land use, increment of the 
compensation limits for human wildlife conflict, prescription of a structure for 
the  establishment  of  community  conservancies  and  a  proposal  for  a  benefit 
sharing structure for communities surrounding state and non-state protected 
areas.

This Guide Book greatly simplifies the provisions of the Act and will enable
communities to better understand the roles and responsibilities of the 
Government and the concerned communities.  

It is my hope that you will find this guidebook useful as Kenya moves into a new 
era of wildlife conservation.

Philip Murgor - 

Kenya’s former Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

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A  GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE ACT OF KENYA (WCMA 2013)

and just relationship between people 
and wildlife by ensuring that there are 
opportunities for people to benefit from 
wildlife without threatening ecosystems 
and  habitats.  The  law  defines  roles, 
responsibilities, offences and penalties 
for violations.

The Wildlife Conservation and 
Management Act (2013) complements 
and  amplifies  other  natural  resource 
management legislations that include 
The Water Act (Cap 372), The Forest 
Act (Cap 385), The Environmental 
Management and Conservation Act 
EMCA  (387), The Wetland  Regulations 
of 2009, The Mining Act (Cap 306), The 
Tourism Act (Cap 383), The Firearms 
Act (Cap 114)  and The Fisheries Act 
(cap 378). All these laws seek to ensure 
sustainable development in Kenya as 
provided for in the Constitution. 

This community guide to the Wildlife 
Conservation and Management Act 
(2013) aims to inform every citizen 
of his or her national duty in wildlife 
conservation and management in Kenya.

THE IMPORTANCE OF 
WILDLIFE TO KENYA

Wildlife occupies more than 70 per cent 
of Kenya’s land surface. The country is 
famed for its great wildebeest migration 
and the “Big Five” - elephant, rhino, lion, 
buffalo and leopard. 

Wildlife plays a major role in Kenya’s 
economy. It is a major tourist attraction, 
accounting for over 12 per cent of the 
country’s Gross Domestic Product 
(GDP). It provides more than 300,000 
jobs in Kenya. All these are economic 
benefits  to  Kenya.    However,  the 
Kenyan economy is under threat due to 
poaching, human-wildlife conflict, habitat 
fragmentation, habitat degradation, bush 
fires,  illegal  logging,  and  illegal  trade 
in  wild  flora  and  fauna,  pollution  and 
climate change.  

In Kenya, the law governing 
wildlife management is the Wildlife 
Conservation and Management Act 
(2013) . This Act aims to create a fair 

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WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ACT 2013?

INTRODUCTION

Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2013) governs wildlife conservation and 
management in Kenya. This law is enforced primarily by the Kenya Wildlife Service 
with support from the police and other government agencies. 

WHAT DOES KWS DO?

MANAGEMENT ROLES

PROTECTION/LAW 

ENFORCEMENT ROLES

SOCIO-ECONOMIC 

ROLES

Manage national parks, 
conservation areas 
and sanctuaries 
Prepare and implement 
the national park 
management plan
Advise the land 
commission, the 
Cabinet Secretary on 
the establishment of 
new national parks, 
wildlife conservancies 
and sanctuaries
Develop and implement 
recovery plans for 
endangered species 
Advise the cabinet 
department on 
wildlife policy, strategy 
and legislation

Provide security for 
wildlife and visitors 
in national parks and 
conservation areas 
Conduct and co-
ordinate wildlife research 
and monitoring
Ensure that no 
development in a 
National Park, Reserve, 
Marine Sanctuary, 
Wildlife Sanctuary or 
Conservancy will be 
allowed without an 
approved management 
plan in place 
Identify user right, 
grant permits, ensure 
compliance of terms 
and conditions

Set up county 
wildlife conservation 
committees 
Collect revenues 
Develop mechanisms 
for benefit sharing 
with communities 
living in wildlife areas 
Share up to 5 per cent 
of the benefits from 
national parks with 
local communities 
neighbouring a park

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A  GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE ACT OF KENYA (WCMA 2013)

CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT 
THROUGH 
COUNTY WILDLIFE 
MANAGEMENT 
COMMITTEES

County Wildlife Conservation and 
Compensation Committees will 
comprise the following:

• 

A Chairperson, appointed 
by the Cabinet Secretary 

• 

Representative of 
county government 

• 

County agricultural officer 

• 

County land use and 
planning officer 

• 

County livestock officer 

• 

County service officer- who 
will be the secretary

• 

Four elected persons who 
are not public officers

• 

County medical officer

• 

County police officer

• 

 County environmental officer

WHAT ARE THE 
MAIN ROLES OF THE 
COUNTY WILDLIFE 
CONSERVATION AND 
COMPENSATION 
COMMITTEE?

• 

Implement the registration 
and establishment of 
wildlife users rights

• 

Participate in the development 
and monitoring of National 
Parks, conservancy and 
ecosystem management plans

• 

Ensure stakeholder 
participation in the planning and 
implementation of conservation 
efforts in the county

• 

Participate in county land 
use planning in consultation 
with the stakeholders 

• 

Prevent Human-Wildlife conflict 

• 

Undertake education, extension 
services and public awareness

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HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT

Wild animals sometimes cause devastating impact on communities and farmers. It is felt 
most by the poor. In wildlife rich areas, the exposure can be serious, especially where 
predators attack people and livestock and herbivores consume farm produce

.

 

SOLUTIONS TO 
HUMAN WILDLIFE 
CONFLICTS 

A few measures you can take to 
prevent human wildlife conflict
 
• 

Use scare-crows 

• 

Set up bee-hive fences to 
prevent elephants attacks 

• 

Erect appropriate fences such as 
chain link and live fence or both

• 

Do not graze livestock in 

conservation areas 

• 

Time the harvest periods to 
control pests including grain-feeding 
wildlife such as baboons and birds 

• 

Ensure appropriate garbage 
disposal methods

• 

Use lion lights, fire under 
supervision or other safe 
methods to scare predators such 
as lions, hyenas and leopards 

• 

Barricade or fence  bodies 
to establish a human zone 
and the wild zone

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A  GUIDE TO THE WILDLIFE ACT OF KENYA (WCMA 2013)

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM 
OF HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT

Individuals can claim compensation (from the County Wildlife Compensation 
Committee) for loss of life, injury or damage to property caused by a range of wildlife 
including snakes, elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and crocodiles.

*See Page 12 for the list of such species

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