More Resources Needed to Support Training of More Conservancy Rangers
Posted: 20th Jun 2017 12:00:00 PM
More resources are needed to increase training of community conservancy rangers. During a passing out parade and a graduation ceremony for 78 conservancy rangers held in Manyani, Taita Taveta on 13th June 2017, the County Commissioner noted that while more community rangers had been trained over the last few years, more resources are needed to boost conservation efforts.
"Today, we are faced with enormous challenges of poaching, human-wildlife conflict and charcoal burning. All these social ills require more trained rangers to protect our resources," she said.
The 78 graduates drawn from Maasai Mara and Northern Rangelands Trust adds to the 1,102 rangers already trained at the Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy.
Conservancy Rangers play a crucial role in the protection and preservation of wildlife in the country. Recently, they have been recognized in the newly launched national wildlife conservation and management strategy as an important resource in minimizing wildlife threats in the country. According to the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association (KWCA) the country boasts of more than 2,200 rangers serving in private and community conservancies.
KWCA CEO Dickson Kaelo, who was the chief guest at the ceremony, recognized the partnership between KWS and conservation partners in recruiting and supporting training of conservancy rangers in the academy. He called on the government, through KWS, to offer adequate resources to the academy to support training of more conservancy rangers.
"Majority of Kenya's wildlife live outside our parks and reserves and we are losing our heritage at an alarming rate. Therefore, there is need as conservation stakeholders to work together to ensure our coordinated efforts towards wildlife and communities are safeguarded," said Kaelo.
As the umbrella body for conservancies and conservancy rangers in Kenya, KWCA has worked with KWS to produce Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for community rangers, to enable a well-structured force recognized at the national level.
"We intend to support improvement of skills and build capacity for local communities to manage wildlife outside gazetted protected areas," he added.
He congratulated the conservancy rangers on their achievement and called on them to put into action knowledge acquired to improve their conservancies.
"You have an onerous task of protecting the country's wildlife heritage, a resource that cannot be bought with money. You are now ambassadors of our wildlife," he said.
In a speech read on his behalf, KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi reiterated his commitment in ensuring that robust strategies were put in place for prudent conservation of wildlife resources. He encouraged the rangers to give their best in conserving the country's precious wildlife resource.
"As a ranger, you are not only a keeper of a park, forest or area, but you are also someone full of wisdom of nature with the out of ordinary need to protect the world's natural and cultural treasures," he said.
Florence Naisianoi one of the graduates recognized for her outstanding skills said: "I joined the training as a civilian with no knowledge on conservancy. But now I am leaving as an accomplished ranger with the requisite skills needed to protect my community and wildlife. I thank everyone who played a role in getting me here."
The 78 conservancy rangers from Mara Siana, Mara Triangle, Kimintet, Oloirien, Oldonyo, Morani, Jaldessa, Oloisukut, Shurr and Songa conservancies have been equipped with necessary skills in wildlife conservation and management, anti-poaching operations, entrepreneurship, human-wildlife conflict resolution, good governance practices and natural resources management skills.
They will take up full employment in their respective conservancies.