Remarks by KWCA CEO Dickson Kaelo on World Ranger Day Celebrations
World Ranger Day Celebration
Remarks by CEO, Kenya wildlife Conservancies Association, Dickson Kaelo
Made on July 31st 2018, KWS HQ
Today, is world rangers day, a global event to celebrate and commemorate the work of Rangers working in our forests, parks, reserves and other conservation areas across the country. I join the International Rangers Federation President, Sean Willmore, who spent time with us earlier this year, to offer greatest gratitude to rangers globally and especially the over 6,000 rangers serving our protected areas in Kenya. I join you also to honor the lives of Julius Kior Kulwa and Ambrose Nyange who lost their lives this year from elephant attacks.
On this day, we celebrate and reflect on the Rangers achievements and resolve to work together to solve the challenges they face. We are all aware that rangers stay many days and hours away from family, they risk their lives to protect our communities and wildlife and do so with dedication. From the stories we’ve heard today, we’ve also been told today that as they go about their work, they loose part of their bodies, they get injured, they loose friends, it is therefore important that on a day like this, we come together to celebrate rangers across the country. I am glad to here that other regions are also joining us in the celebrations . It is through the rangers efforts, that Kenya is currently experiencing the lowest levels of poaching, the wildlife trafficking networks have largely being demolished and our communities and our wildlife are more safer, for this I say Hongera and Asanteni sana.
Recognizing the efforts of our rangers is the reason we gather here today, KWCA as an associate member of the International Rangers Federation and a strong supporter, partner and friend of KWS we thank you you for co-hosting this event. We are also grateful to our partners WWF for supporting 32 community rangers from 8 regions to join KWS Rangers to show that we are together, we compliment and support each other. Those of us who frequently go to field we see this in the field, we’ve seen the network of our community and KWS rangers working together and we are aware that this joint effort is realizing successes.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Wildlife conservation today faces huge challenges, low funding, habitat loss, climate change remains huge challenges, only by pulling our efforts together can we make progress the progress we desire. I wish therefore, on behalf of conservancies thank KWS leadership for making the KWS Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) available to train community rangers and for recently reviewing the training curriculum to address the emerging issues that our rangers are facing. We are all aware that without training rangers, their performance and morale will be low. I also wish to encourage all employers of Rangers to take keen interest in ensuring ranger conditions are better, ensure that Rangers are equipped and are performing their job to the best of their abilities. We recognize that Rangers are our biggest asset and by providing them with better welfare and support, we will achieve more.
Finally, I wish to thank all of you for coming here and staying for a long day. Today’s celebration is the biggest ever. Last year we had a similar event which was much smaller than today and I therefore commend the committee that planned this event for a good job. I also thank the KWS management for affording their time to be with our rangers, I’m sure giving this day a big boost. will inspire and motivate the rangers as they go back to their stations.
For the 18 Rangers who have received their African Paradise Rangers Award, of which represents 36% of all the rangers awarded, the world is recognizing your many years of effort. I recognize Ranger Koisikir, Ranger ole Yiankere and all the others who I have met and worked with, congratulations. I hope your winning will inspire many more of our rangers to join your win in next year’s award.
From an animal lover in the United States I would like to personally thank these brave and dedicated rangers for their tremendous personal sacrifices on a daily basis so that these magnificent animals may continue to live freely for all the world to see. Not enough people in the world are knowledgeable about the plights of these animals and how horrific their lives can be at the hands of humans. I can assure you that in our small part of the world we are getting the word out through our very popular zoo. As a volunteer I am constantly talking to guests about the importance of these animals to the ecosystems, and we are teaching the next generation through our summer camp programs. I know that doesn’t directly affect these rangers and their daily job, but I want you to know that people do care and the rangers are not fighting in vain. I do hope to travel to Kenya one day and it would be a great honor to say thank you in person. God bless!