News & CommentEcology

Survival Test for Kenya's Wildlife

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Science  24 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5363, pp. 510
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5363.510

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Since 1994, savanna ecologist David Western has been struggling to save Kenya's rich biological heritage--and the agency meant to protect it, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey had built the organization into a strong-armed guardian of Kenya's biological wealth in the early 1990s, but Western is presiding over it at a time when park revenues are bottoming out and the service is having a hard time meeting its $15-million-a-year budget. Even so, he is pushing to extend the reach of KWS outside of Kenya's 26 national parks and 30 protected areas and to preserve biological diversity throughout the country, not just in the parks, by promoting an agenda of "parks beyond parks" and a network of community-based conservation projects in which landowners share profits from wildlife while assuming some of the responsibilities for protecting it.