Netherlands based TUI Care Foundation and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have partnered with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to introduce a tech oriented mentorship program that will assist local rangers at Tsavo Conservation Area to deal with elephant poaching.
The wildlife security initiative, dubbed ‘tenBoma’, will see 130 Kenya Wildlife Service and community rangers around Tsavo Conservation Area receive training and mentorship that will help them better predict and respond to threats that endanger wildlife and local communities around the zone.
According to TUI Care, the initiative can only be implemented successfully with the use of technology, systematic data processing systems and proper intelligence gathering.
“Information about the park will first be collected from rangers and local communities. It is then compiled in a database and analyzed to find patterns and identify, for instance, hotspots where poaching incidents seem to occur more often,” Thomas Ellerbeck the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of TUI Care Foundation said in a statement.
“This intelligence is then shared directly with the field teams who can take appropriate action. Rangers in the field are also provided with communications and mobility equipment which enable them to respond more effectively to intercept poachers and reach areas where elephants come into conflict with man.”
Tsavo Conservation Area boasts of housing at least 12,850 African elephants. Among this population are at least 11 of the world’s 30 or so remaining ‘big tuskers’ who get their names from the size of their ridiculously long tusks. If not properly protected these ‘big tuskers’ might end up being extinct and according to the Senior Vice President at IFAW , Faye Cuevas, the program will also deter the extinction of these majestic beasts.
“State-of-the-art crime scene investigation training supported by TUI Care Foundation for 40 wildlife service rangers in Tsavo East National Park means that rangers can now better protect Tsavo’s ‘big tuskers’ from unique threats like poison arrow poaching through more efficient collection and preservation of forensic evidence at a poaching crime scene,” Cuevas said.
The initiative will also provide members of five local communities with the necessary strategies and tools to effectively and proactively combat poaching and human-elephant conflicts while creating a safe and vibrant ecosystem especially since the Tsavo Conservation Area does not have fences with human-wildlife conflict being common in the area.