Benefits of Protected Areas to Adjacent Communities: The Case of Maasai Mara National Reserve In Kenya



Kenya has ratified several Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) and they all emphasize promotion of human well-being - through equitable sharing of benefits accruing from such conservation and protection schemes. This paper is aimed at showing whether the communities living around Kenya's premier conservation area, Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR), receive any benefits. A sample of 198 respondents was selected randomly from villages around the MMNR. Data were collected using questionnaires, observations and interviews and analysed by the aid of descriptive and inferential statistics. The results show that majority of the respondents (68.2%) benefit from the Reserve. The largest proportion of those who received benefits (53%) was within 1-2 km range from the Reserve. The benefits mainly included income diversification and access to education. The study recommends equitable sharing of benefits between the Narok County and the surrounding communities to enhance sustainable conservation of wildlife. The neighbouring private and communal lands provide habitats for migratory species whose survival depends on well-being of the local communities. Active engagement of local communities in the conservation of wildlife is, therefore, crucial. This study is part of a larger study on domestication of MEAs in Kenya.

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