KWS unveils 78 community rangers to curb poaching in Turkana

The KWS community rangers during their passing out parade at Manyani training camp, December 14, 2017. /SOLOMON MUINGI
The KWS community rangers during their passing out parade at Manyani training camp, December 14, 2017. /SOLOMON MUINGI

Kenya Wildlife Service on Thursday unveiled 78 new rangers to be deployed in conservancies in Turkana South, Pokot, and Kajiado to curb poaching.

Edin Kalla, the KWS senior assistant director in charge of parks and reserves, said the community rangers will be the agency's eyes and ears in the said areas.

He spoke during the passing out parade of the group at the KWS law enforcement academy at Manyani in Taita Taveta county.

Kalla said they are focused on wildlife conservation and ecosystem management in the two counties.

"We view the rangers as an extended family in Kenya Wildlife Service's core mandate of protecting, managing and conserving wildlife resources both inside and outside protected areas."

The rangers were drawn from Turkana county, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Maasai Wilderness, Olgulului and Kuku group ranches.

Jane Ajele, a Turkana CEC who presided over the event, lauded KWS for supporting local communities who co-exist with wildlife outside protected areas.

"We appreciate the effort by commandants and other officers at this training academy. Our officers are now ready to protect wildlife in their respective communities."

She said more security enforcement officers from Turkana county shall be enrolled for training in the academy from next year.

The function was attended by law enforcement deputy commandant Julius Cheptei and Turkana senior warden Josephat Erupe among other officials.

Cheptei called upon communities bordering national parks to embrace wildlife protection.

"Our doors are open to receive more trainees so that we can help each other in conservation. Our courses are designed with an aim of addressing the current wildlife conservation challenges outside areas and conservancies," he said.

To date, the academy has trained over 1,100 community rangers.