COMBAT POACHING

Integrate technology in conservation, Taita rangers told

AWF director calls for merging of science with current measures that community rangers are using in conservation

In Summary
  • Githaiga said  rangers should access mobile enabled monitoring systems to work efficiently.
  • Some 524 rangers are in charge of 33 conservancies and ranches spread across 1.1 million acres of land.
Africa Wildlife Foundation country director Nancy Githaiga addresses journalists in Voi on Monday
TECHNOLOGY Africa Wildlife Foundation country director Nancy Githaiga addresses journalists in Voi on Monday
Image: SOLOMON MUINGI

Conservancies in Taita Taveta county have been urged to put in place more technology to combat poaching and human-wildlife conflict.

Africa Wildlife Foundation country director Nancy Githaiga said there is a need to integrate science with current measures that community rangers are using in conservation.

Conservancies, Githaiga said, should enable rangers access mobile phones, camera and Global Positioning System technology among other mobile enabled monitoring systems to work efficiently.

“Rangers cover a very large area and therefore they should be empowered to work effectively and at cost. That calls for technology to accurately record data and rely the same to the head office,” Githaiga told journalists in Voi on Monday.

She said rangers are faced with challenges in covering the vast land under conservancies, further stressing on need to equip the ranches with vehicles.

Some 524 rangers are in charge of 33 conservancies and ranches spread across 1.1 million acres of land, including critical wildlife dispersal and migratory corridors at the vast Tsavo ecosystem.

Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association CEO Dickson Kahelo said the rangers have been in the forefront in conducting patrols, community education and awareness programmes within the community.

As a result, Kahelo said there has been reduced incidences of wildlife fires, poaching snares, and forest destruction within the Tsavo ecosystem.

He said plans are underway to provide rangers with ranger safety gears and other materials needed for optimum performance.

“They need night vision binoculars, torches, handcuffs, thunder flashers, sleeping bags, patrol vehicles and other relevant items. The items will improve the safety of rangers while on duty,” he said.

Kahelo said the association is sensitising more women to join the male dominated venture and participate in decision making within the conservancies.

“Challenging gender norms is part of what we are doing. We want more female rangers to join this field that has for long been perceived as men’s responsibility,” he added, further pointing out that at least 207 female rangers have been recruited across the country.

To enhance rangers’ efficiency, he said, the KWCA has partnered with the Kenya Wildlife Service to offer training of rangers at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy at Manyani.

He said the training will entail the use of science and technology in conservation.

Kahelo said the association will further engage the rangers in a continuous training on cybercrime to crack networks of poachers in the region.

 

 

-Edited by SKanyara

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