A policy is a set of principles, rules and guidelines formulated or adopted by to reach a long-term goal. Policies are designed to influence and determine all major decisions and actions regarding the specific aspect which the policy intends to address. All activities must take place within the boundaries set by the policy.
What a Wildlife Policy Should Do
It is very important for countries to adopt wildlife policies to guide them on their wildlife conservation goals. Clearly articulated wildlife polices will not only guide the wildlife sector players but the county at large on the management of wildlife resources. The specific elements of a wildlife policy will of necessity vary from country to country but essentially, the wildlife policy should:
- Identify and define the status and role of wildlife in the country.
- Define the guiding principles for wildlife conservation in the country.
- Cleary outline the policy objectives.
- Outline the strategies through which it will meet each policy objective.
- Define the policy implementation framework.
- Define the policy monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Contents of a Wildlife Policy
As stated above, policies vary from country to county but there are basic issues that need to be addressed in a good wildlife policy. These are:
- Conservation and management of wildlife:
- Sustainable management of wildlife resources
- Sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources
- Access to wildlife resources
- Creation and management of protected areas
- Wildlife research
- Administration of the wildlife sector
- Institutional mechanisms to conserve and manage wildlife
- Community involvement in the wildlife sector
- Mitigating against human wildlife conflicts
- Wildlife conservation education and awareness
- Protection of wildlife
- Cooperative approaches to protect wildlife such as incentives and benefit sharing
- Coercive approaches to protect wildlife such as offences and penalties
- Regulatory approaches to protect wildlife
- Enforcement institutions and mechanisms