Kenya Wildlife Service Director General Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru Wednesday, 9 September 2020, received assorted equipment valued at Ksh. 5.35 million, at KWS headquarters. The items have been purchased with support from the TUI Care Foundation and will support KWS operations in combating wildlife trafficking in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA).
Receiving the donations, the DG thanked IFAW and AWF for their continued support over the years. “Sincerely, without this kind of support, we would probably manage, but with much struggle,” he said. Brig. (Rtd) Waweru said that the collaboration between KWS, AWF and IFAW involved continuous discussions in the spirit of maintaining a partnership that is beneficial and practical, not simply one of giving and receiving.
These conversations ensure that the donations are employed specifically where they are required, which is why they are earmarked for Tsavo National Park, meaning that donations are not piled in the stores, but deployed immediately upon receipt.
The DG expressed his gratitude and hoped for increased future collaborations, despite the difficulties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding KWS’ budgetary constraints. He noted that AWF’s K9 program has been an extremely significant one for KWS, appreciating this continued support. He assured the partners that KWS would always avail them a listening ear with a view to agreeing on a Modus Operandi going forward, because a 20-year-long relationship needs to be nurtured.
“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.
“To eliminate illegal wildlife trade, law enforcement including 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,” Dr. Philip Muruthi, Vice-President Conservation Science and Planning of the African Wildlife Foundation, emphasized.
The donated equipment include 11 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 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.