ASSORTED VEHICLES DONATED TO BOOST ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

Date Published:

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 - 10:30

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) received a vehicle fleet donation worth over 400,000 US Dollars from the Shiraz and Leili Wildlife Foundation at the Nairobi National Park’s historic Ivory Burning Site, Monday 20th May, 2024.

This substantial contribution is set to enhance KWS's Vet and Capture Unit’s capabilities, given that the unit plays a crucial role in the capture and relocation of wild animals within different wildlife occupied areas both within and outside the Service’s jurisdiction.

During the handover ceremony, KWS Director General Dr. Erustus Kanga expressed his profound appreciation for the generous donations. "We are immensely grateful to the Shiraz and Leili Wildlife Foundation for this significant support," Dr. Kanga stated. "This fleet is essential for our Vet and Capture Unit, particularly in capture, relocation, reintroduction, and restocking of animals in less populated areas,” Kanga stated.

Dr. Kanga also highlighted the modern challenges faced in conservation, including habitat encroachment and human-wildlife conflict. "Our work is increasingly complicated by habitat loss and the sophisticated nature of modern poaching networks. This donation will greatly enhance our ability to respond effectively to these challenges," he noted.

The CEO of the Shiraz and Leili Wildlife Foundation noted that between 2014 and 2017, close to 100,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory alone; this therefore put emphasis on the dedication required in modern conservation efforts.

Shiraz also stated that wild animals targeted for translocation do not simply fall by the roadside waiting for someone to pick them up, rather, they venture deep into the wilderness; hence KWS frontline officers must work tirelessly to locate and protect them. “Today, conservationists fight modern poaching operations that are well-coordinated, heavily funded, and equipped with advanced weapons and technology. The incredible work that KWS does in protecting wildlife is commendable, but it is clear that more resources are needed to curb these constant dangers."

Acknowledging KWS’s relentless conservation efforts the CEO highlighted the need for additional support to meet conservation goals. "As we find other missions and projects to collaborate on with KWS, we will continue to support their mission of protecting these voiceless, beautiful creatures,” Shiraz stated.

The donated fleet is expected to significantly improve the operational capacity of the KWS Vet and capture Unit, enabling swift and efficient responses to wildlife emergencies. These vehicles will be particularly instrumental in relocation and reintroduction programs, which are vital for maintaining ecological balance and preventing inbreeding within elephant populations.

Dr. Kanga concluded with a call for continued collaboration. He stated that KWS has a plethora of sizeable collaborative opportunities available to be tapped by other conservation enthusiasts. A call that can only be made possible by the Kenya Wildlife Service telling its story and clearly detailing its needs to the world, as KWS is not only conserving the Kenyan biodiversity for Kenyan people, but for the whole world. “Hence we look forward to more partnerships and avenues for cooperation that can amplify our conservation efforts,” Dr. Kanga concluded.