Amboseli National Park; downgrading to a game reserve, Kenya


Amboseli National Park is an Important Bird Area, with over 400 bird species recorded, including over 40 birds of prey including Vulnerable Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni which uses the site during its migration period. Wildlife tourism is one of Kenyas main sources of foreign revenue, and Amboseli brings in about $3.3m a year from park fees and related tourist activities. This money helps administer Amboseli and other National Parks in Kenya.

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Basic Data
NameAmboseli National Park; downgrading to a game reserve, Kenya
ProvinceRift Valley Province
SiteKajiado District
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific Commodities
Tourism services
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Kenya Government proposed to degazette Amboseli National Park to a national reserve. The President asked the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife to publish Legal Notice 120 in the Kenya Gazettement Supplement No. 20, declaring that Amboseli National Park would henceforth become a National Reserve.

Project Area (in hectares)39200
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population35-38 million Kenyans
Start Date28/09/2005
Relevant government actorsOffice of the President;, Kenya Wildlife Service;, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNature Kenya;, BirdLife Africa Secretariat;, Born Free Foundation Kenya;, East African Wild Life Society;, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust;, Youth for Conservation;, East Africa Environmental Network;, Kenya Tourism Federation
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew legislation
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The High Court quashed the order by President Mwai Kibaki saying the move was illegal and could not pass the test of the new constitution. From another perspective, the step by the Kenya government to allow a local council to run Amboseli, was a step in the right direction. By downgrading Amboseli National Park to a game reserve, the government tried to give the Maasais a chance to manage wildlife as a resource. But this was a move viewed by many to be part of political power games. However, the Maasai have a right to own, manage and enjoy the fruits of their land.
Sources and Materials

Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, 2010;

Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act of 1976 ;

Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) of 1999;

Environmental Policy;

The Local Government Act, Cap 265.


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ContributorSerah Munguti
Last update08/04/2014