Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Ranks, Salary Structure and Allowances

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is a governmental body charged with looking after the country’s wildlife through conservation and management of all the National Parks in Kenya. The body also performs other functions relating to the parks. The rank structure and salaries, including allowances of the Kenya Wildlife Services staff, are listed below for your perusal.

Brief History of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)

Established in 1989, the Kenya Wildlife Service is responsible for the conservation and management of Kenya’s wildlife. Act of Parliament Cap 376 (The Wildlife Conservation and Management (Amendment 1989) Act) is the ACT responsible for the establishment of KWS.

In addition to conserving and managing wildlife in the country, the KWS also enforces laws relating to wildlife as well as regulations. They are in charge of managing the country’s biodiversity by conserving and protecting its flora and fauna. Most of Kenya’s Reserves and National Parks fall under the jurisdiction of the KWS. However, there are some exceptions like the Maasai Mara National Reserve that is currently under the local authorities. The KWS generates a lot of revenue and the funds go towards the conservation of both flora and fauna in all the parks in Kenya.

KWS Programmes and Services

There are quite a good number of programs and services running under the KWS

Conservative Programs

In a bid to assist endangered Kenyan habitats and species, the Kenya Wildlife Service engages in specific programs. There are Forest and Wetland conservation programs, including specific Rhino and Elephant projects which are targeted at helping these near-extinct species recover from the ravages of poaching. Serious monitoring is also going on for the hirola which is equally endangered.

Community Wildlife Service

This is the arm of the Kenya Wildlife Service that doesn’t work within the national parks, rather, they are engaged in places like wildlife corridors, tutoring the local communities on the need to conserve and take care of their resources.

Kenya Wildlife Services
KWS rangers image source

Security Services

This service has the mandate to secure the national parks in the country where they are expected to eradicate poaching as well as put an end to illegal trade. The government eased the duties of the security service by erecting fences around the parks to keep the wildlife intact.

Veterinary Services

The veterinary services department has experienced vets that maintain healthy breeding among the populations of species across the country.


The training institute of the KWS is called Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute. This middle-level college is cited at Naivasha and it is a TVET institution registered with Kenya’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. On offer at the training institute are diploma courses and specialized certificates in areas such as natural resource management, tourism, and ecology all in a bid to boost conservation, sustainability, and management of wildlife bio-diversity throughout Kenya and the world at large.

Kenya Wildlife Services also runs its own Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani Area, catering for the paramilitary training of all law enforcers. Manyani area came into existence in 1990.


KWS runs a plethora of education centers. They include the following;

  • Nairobi Safari Walk
  • Nairobi Education Centre
  • Lake Nakuru Education Centre
  • Tsavo East Education Centre
  • Tsavo West Education Centre

These education centers are all cited within the National Parks and their programs are tailored towards encouraging the populace to cater to their environment. Though the programs are open to all, their main targets are the locals, especially school groups.

Rank Structure at KWS

The rank structure within the Kenya Wildlife Services is quite distinct from what you would get in organized commands like the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force under the Kenya Defense Force. In KWS, the staff is categorized into different departments according to their job functions. We have:

  • Soldiers
  • Assistant Researchers
  • Laboratory Technologists
  • Laboratory Assistants
  • Systems Analysts
  • Statistical Assistants
  • Accounts Assistants
  • Customer Care Assistants
  • Communications Unit
  • Park Rangers
  • Civil/Structural Engineers/Contractors
  • Marketing Executives
  • Community Relations and Outreach Assistants/Contractors
  • Drivers
  • IT Managers
  • Security Officers

Salary Structure of the Kenya Wild Life Services

At KWS, the professional staff who came into the organization as graduates are the higher earners while the security, drivers, and scouts employed with lesser qualifications earn the least pay. According to kept records, staff members at KWS are not paid allowances like leave allowance, housing, and the likes. The workers do get promoted but it is not done according to education level, and neither is it based on an employee’s competence.

  • Fresh Recruits (this category came in as graduates) – earn Ksh55,000 – Ksh75,000
  • Laboratory Assistant – earn about Ksh10K average monthly
  • IT Manager – earns about Ksh290K – Ksh314K monthly average
  • Accounts Assistant – earns about Ksh24K – Ksh26K average monthly
  • Accountants – earn Ksh45,000 – Ksh90, 000 average monthly
  • Senior accountants – earn at least Ksh120,000 average monthly
  • Communications Unit – earn Ksh24K – Ksh26K average monthly
  • Park Rangers – earn about Ksh25,000 – Ksh50,000 average monthly
  • Experienced game rangers – earn Ksh65,000 – Ksh180,000
  • Scouts – earn Ksh15,000 – Ksh25,000
  • Civil/Structural Engineer/Contractor – earns about Ksh29K – Ksh31K average monthly
  • Marketing Executive – earns about Ksh66K – Ksh72K average monthly
  • Community Relations and Outreach Assistant/Contractor – earns about Ksh24K – Ksh26K average monthly
  • Drivers – earn about Ksh29K – Ksh31K monthly average
  • Security Officer – earn about Ksh14K – Ksh16K monthly average
  • KWS boasts of conservationists, scientists, ecologists, and researchers with Ph.D. qualification – this category of staff earn between Ksh200,000 – Ksh300,000.
  • The Director is the one who wields the big stick at KWS and is equally the highest earner – the monthly salary range for this level falls between Ksh1.5 million to Ksh 1.6 million.
image source

Functions of the KWS

  • Through the management and conservation of wildlife, KWS has promoted job creation, tourist attractions, and increased revenue
  • Provide security for both visitors and wildlife in various National Parks
  • The coordination and implementation of ecosystem plans
  • The promotion of commercial activities – this emanates out of the bid to achieve wildlife conservation
  • Revenue collection from tourists. This goes towards boosting Kenya’s economy
  • The establishment of forensic laboratories
  • The enforcement of law and regulations relating to wildlife in the country

Is Kenya Wildlife Services Part of The Police?

The KWS is not the same as Kenya Police but the Armed Forces and the police assist in training their staff at both Gilgil and the Administration Police College located in Embakasi, Nairobi.

Kenya Wildlife Service is one of the country’s autonomous parastatal bodies. The KWS works under the supervision of a Board of Trustees which exercises exclusive authority over all the national parks. The board also wields significant influence over all other categories of protected/secluded areas.


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