The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) - Kenya

Mitigating Illegal Bushmeat Trade through Fish Farming

The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) a not-for-profit Non Governmental Organization (NGO) came to being in 1961. It was formed through the merger of the Kenya and Tanzania Wild Life Societies, also incorporating wildlife enthusiasts from Uganda. The Society has since then become the leading voice of conservation in the region.

Following the collapse of the fishing industry in the region over the last decade, EAWLS has embarked on a fish farming project as one of the few remaining sustainable livelihood options available in the district. EAWLS, with financial support from the Monsanto Fund, is rehabilitating old fish ponds and supporting locally registered environmental groups in setting up 10 new fish farms on the groups’ private land. The groups are also being trained in environmental conservation through outreach and promotional materials to ensure they run sustainable and profitable fish farms.

EAWLS is committed to conservation and communities living side-by-side with wildlife. It invokes participatory approaches with communities in mitigating human-wildlife conflict. The society advocates sound governance of our dwindling natural resources, for rational policies that promote best practice and to defend the wildlife and habitat of East Africa.

In Kenya, bushmeat hunting is rife with thousands of snares being recovered each year from protected areas and game ranches. The illegal bushmeat trade is a serious threat to the survival of kenyan wildlife, second only to habitat loss.

Seeing the danger that this poses EAWLS is engaged in projects that focus on awareness-raising and generation of alternative livelihood around the Tsavo Park ecosystem.

The success of this initiative will provide for the huge shortfall in animal protein, which is currently met by illegally obtained bushmeat deemed easily accessible and more affordable than to livestock meat. It is hoped this will lead to a let up in bushmeat trade and consequently have a positive impact on wildlife conservation efforts.

A Project Implementation Committee (PIC) comprising a chairman, member representatives for each group and the project manager has been put in place to oversee the running of the fish farming projects to ensure participation and ownership of the local community from the onset.