Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the agency tasked with the safekeeping of wildlife in some of Africa’s most iconic protected areas, has received a boost to its operations with the handover of new equipment worth over US$50,000 from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
The items have been purchased with support from the TUI Care Foundation and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) will support KWS operations in combatting wildlife trafficking in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA).
“It is important that conservation work continues in order to build back better and more sustainably. In addition to protecting the natural environment, conservation projects support the livelihoods of people living in and around the area by creating jobs, strengthening community engagement and in this case mitigating human-wildlife conflict. Now more than ever, with a sharp decline in tourism, we need to continue supporting IFAW and KWS with the right equipment in order to react to the effects of the pandemic, mainly the decline in revenue and the resulting reduced operations capacity.” said Alexander Panczuk, Executive Director, TUI Care Foundation.
“IFAW has collaborated with KWS for over 20 years and we will continue to support their activities especially during this time when there is an increased threat to wildlife security due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Besides the support to Tsavo, we have also made provision to enhance security in Amboseli by working with and facilitating both KWS and the Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers so as to maintain the safety of wildlife and the communities living in the larger Amboseli – Tsavo – Kilimanjaro landscape where the two Parks are situated” stated James Isiche IFAW Regional Director, IFAW East Africa. “We appreciate the collaboration with development agencies that continue to support our work, and our partners in wildlife conservation to protect wildlife,” he added.
“We thank IFAW and AWF for your continued support over the years, sincerely without this kind of support we probably would manage, but with much struggle”, said KWS Director General Brig. (Rtd.) John Waweru
“To eliminate illegal wildlife trade, law enforcement including the government and other actors must collaborate strategically anticipating and responding to the actions of the criminals. Wildlife must play a significant role in the sustainable development of Kenya and Africa at large,” Philip Muruthi, Vice-President Conservation Science and Planning of the African Wildlife Foundation, emphasized.
The donated equipment includes 16 laptops and 4 printers used for office administration, 180 pairs of boots for rangers, and 4 tents for use by wildlife rangers when out on patrol, 4 motorbikes, a vehicle and 10,000 liters worth of diesel fuel.
To prevent the poaching of wildlife before it happens, IFAW and KWS, supported by TUI Care Foundation, are implementing a wildlife security initiative known as tenBoma. The initiative leverages use of technology, information gathering from local communities and systematic processing of data. These inform potential poaching hotspots which are shared with wildlife ranger teams to take appropriate action. Through the partnership, rangers in the field have been provided with communications and mobility equipment including GPS, smartphones and radios for effective response and rapid intercept of poachers or to identify areas where wildlife are in conflict with humans.