By Muthoni Waweru, Capital News
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has deployed more than 50 community wildlife rangers from Kenya and Tanzania to conduct a joint border patrol to avert cases of poaching.
The agency’s Regional Director for East Africa James Isiche said already 30 Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers from Amboseli Park in Kenya and 20 community wildlife rangers from Enduimet Wildlife Management Area in Tanzania have been monitoring their respective borderlines in the past week.
Isiche said the patrol is aimed at ensuring the safety of wildlife at risk of being poached due to the lack of visitors and hospitality staff in the respective parks, a situation that has been occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The role and presence of the community wildlife rangers particularly during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic when operations have been hampered by lack of tourism revenue to sustain them, is of paramount importance as they continue to protect wildlife from potential poaching for bush-meat and other wildlife products,” stated James Isiche, IFAW Regional Director for East Africa.
The community wildlife rangers will enhance wildlife security in community lands, where wildlife spend most of their time, in addition to that offered by government-funded rangers from Kenya Wildlife Service, Tanzania National Parks Authority and Tanzania Wildlife Authority.
All rangers will keep to their side of the border to avoid possible contamination of the virus.
“Patrols of this nature are essential to keep wildlife safe as they enhance collaboration amongst community and state agencies through information gathering and sharing, cross border landscapes are particularly difficult to preserve as would be poachers take advantage of the fact that they cannot be pursued across the common border after committing their acts hence synchronized patrols such as this one ensure that this not the case,” he emphasised.
Collaboration amongst wildlife security agencies in the management and protection of wildlife has seen the area remain a safe haven for wildlife with only one elephant poached in the Amboseli ecosystem in 2018; zero in 2019 and none so far this year.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping the wildlife and people thrive together and mostly rescues, rehabilitates, releases animals, restores and protect their natural habitats.