The Joint Wildlife Protection Team
Thanks to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (USA) we were afforeded the set-up costs for a dedicated anti-poaching team who patrol hotspots of illegal activity. A brand new land cruiser, training of the community contingent of the team and equipment purchases were all made possible by AFEW while radios were donated by Serena Hotels. This team is made up of trained community scouts from the Mount Kenya area and is backed up by armed KWS rangers. The first few months of operations were supported by Tusk Trust and the Born Free Foundation and the year Sept 2009 to August 2010 Costs were pledged by the African Fund for Endangered Widlife (Kenya).
In August 2010 the team celebrated the end of its first year and a half of work. After one year of operation the team was able to achieve significant results in the battle against poaching in all areas surrounding the Mountain. With the help of local informers, the team is constantly thwarting attempts to poach the natural resources of Mount Kenya National Park such by conducting regular patrols at various sites around Mount Kenya. A vast quantity of snares aimed at trapping and killing wildlife for bush meat are disarmed every day. Any area where there is strong evidence of illegal human activity is recorded and often revisited and any poaching activity is disturbed and equipment dismantled. This includes intercepting rife illegal harvesting of natural resources from Mount Kenya’s forests by the likes of charcoal burners and loggers. The presence of KWS personnel allows for arrests to be made if any poacher is caught, and the team has been successful instigating over 30 arrests of poachers in the year between Sept 2010 and August 2010.
The Joint Wildlife Protection team also helps to sensitize local communities that they come across, alerting them to the needs and importance of wildlife and forest conservation. Local communities are offered an insight into tree planting, water management and are encouraged to invest in energy saving technologies. These Barazas or community meetings are also a great way for the team establish contacts in communities surrounding Mount Kenya so that information regarding conservation malpractice, wildlife issues or suspicious activities in the National Park and Reserve can be efficiently reported to the team. The Joint Wildlife protection team will continue its vital work in the future, with the support of the KWS, funding permitting.
Marania Wildlife Guards:
The Marania Wildlife Guards are a foot patrol team who divide their time between the forests in the northern area of Mount Kenya and Rutundu which is higher up above the tree line in the same area. A minimal KWS presence in the area has meant that poaching was significantly increasing in the late 1990’s. The Trust initially employed 6 ex-poachers who can call on Lewa Conservancy Security to confront poachers and other illegal activity. Their presence had an immediate effect on the revival of wildlife numbers in the area. In these difficult times for wildlife their presence is more vital than ever. The Marania wildlife guards are also largely supported by The Eden Wildlife Trust and we are also are grateful to have Marnia Farm supporting the management of the Trust.