Assisting wildlife conservation in Kenya

RSPB has given institutional support to Nature Kenya (BirdLife in Kenya) helping to conserve Kenya’s fabulous wildlife since 1994.

Blue rock texture background


We have provided a strong basis from which Nature Kenya has been able to attract additional support. They are now recognised as one of the most effective and important NGOs in Kenya and their innovative projects have informed conservation elsewhere in Africa.
Kenya is famous for its spectacular wildlife and biodiversity – 61 species of birds are currently of global conservation concern, including many palearctic migrants. While there is an active conservation community in Kenya there is a great need to grow NGOs and to build the constituency of Kenyans involved in conservation.  RSPB began working with the East Africa Natural History Society in 1994 to fill this gap. Their arm in Kenya became branded as Nature Kenya in 1997.  Conservation threats continue to grow as the size and aspirations of Kenya’s population grows and other countries eye Africa’s natural resources.
Nature Kenya makes an increasingly significant contribution to biodiversity conservation in Kenya. 

Species affected (not UK birds)

Species in Kenyan IBAs includes corncrake, black-tailed godwit and curlew.  Species assisted by Nature Kenya programmes include Sharpe’s longclaw, Turner’s eremomela, Clarke’s weaver, Spotted ground-thrush, Papyrus gonolek, Hinde’s pied babbler, Taita thrush and Sokoke scops-owl.


  • Key biodiversity conservation sites prioritised, studied, documented — findings disseminated.
  • Action for protection of key species, sites and habitats specified and initiated.
  • Nature Kenya's influence on decisions affecting biodiversity increased.
  • Public awareness of the global, national and local values of biodiversity increased.
  • Larger, broader and active membership base developed.
  • Funding increased from diversified sources.
  • Efficiency of Nature Kenya management and administration enhanced.

Key Dates

  • 1909 - EANHS formed at a meeting in British Governors residence
  • 1910 - EANHS found the Kenya National Museum
  • 1993 - RSPB starts working with EANHS
  • 1997 - operational name changes to Nature Kenya and first Executive staff member recruited
  • 2000 - Directory of 60 Important Bird Areas published
  • 2001 - RSPB gains UK Government support for management and monitoring of IBAs
  • 2005 - major funding at Arauko-sokoke forest, communities earning $200,000 a year from sustainable forest management
  • 2007 - UK Department for International Development funds conservation at South Nandi Forest
  • 2008 - major campaign launched to save the Tana River Delta
  • 2009 - the hundredth birthday of the society


Planned Work

Current RSPB involvement includes:
  • Ongoing support to Nature Kenya core functions.
  • Co-management of South Nandi Forest conservation project.
  • Support in campaign to protect the Tana River Delta.
  • Support to education work – learning for sustainable living in Kenya.
  • Development of IBA monitoring programme and species monitoring through Kenya Birdfinder database and bird population monitoring programme.
  • Support to enhance Nature Kenya membership and marketing initiatives.
In 2009 Nature Kenya/EANHS celebrated its 100th anniversary. A range of high profile events were planned.


  • Increasing and broadening Nature Kenya membership from around 600 to approximately 1500.
  • Establishment of the National Liaison Committee to facilitate networking, advocacy and information exchange among government and non-government conservation and development institutions.
  • IBA Directory published highlighting conservation importance of 60 sites - active monitoring through grassroots action and collaboration.
  • Establishment, development and consolidation of local constituencies for site conservation through Site Support Groups (SSGs) - now operational and conserving 10 IBAs.
  • Participation in development and review of national conservation legislation and policy, eg the Forest Act.
  • Advocating for sound environmental decisions among decision makers - sometimes in collaboration with government, eg representing the government at CBD, other times opposing, eg the fight to save Tana River Delta IBA.
  • Developing conservation models, eg priority setting, SSGs process and monitoring for regional application in the BirdLife Partnership.
  • Diversifying Nature Kenya funding base.
  • Strengthening and diversifying Nature Kenya action groups, committees and projects.
  • Developing and consolidating Nature Kenya administrative and development procedures and implementing a business plan.
  • Continuing the use of volunteers supported by a small, committed and qualified staff co-ordinating membership and conservation initiatives.


Coast on a stormy day

Sarah Sanders

Curlew Recovery Programme Manager, RSPB

Further reading

Tagged with: Country: Countries Country: Kenya Project status: Project classification: Ongoing Project types: Advocacy Project types: Education Project types: Organisation development Project types: Research Project types: Site protection Project types: Species protection