Communities vow to end illegal killings of elephants


David Dabllen, Head of Field Operations

Date Published

Since the beginning of this year, there have been reports of a rise in the illegal killing of elephants on the East of Matthews Ranges. These killings have been a worrying issue to the stakeholders operating along that area; Save The Elephants, Northern Rangelands Trust and Kenya Wildlife among others. A number of internal community meetings have been held by Namunyak Conservancy in the area to try and stop the illegal killings but elephant killing continues. Namunyak Conservancy and Northern Rangelands Trust felt it was vital to invite other stakeholders for a meeting to discuss this matter.

Before the main Anti-poaching Campaign was arranged for the 11th of July, 2016 at Ngilai, west of the Matthews Ranges, various conservation stakeholders held separate meetings to deliberate in order to present their views at the main meeting.

Our STE team left early on Monday morning 11th July for Wamba, the location agreed upon to finalise logistics and once the County Security team arrived, everyone left for the meeting venue. Community leaders had already mobilised the rest of the community members to attend and the meeting got to a start right away. Speaker after speaker raised a lot of concern and strongly condemned the illegal killings of elephants in the area.

The head of security from the National Government addressed the illegal possession of guns in the community – one of the apparent causes of elephant deaths. In response to the allegation, the community members assured the government that the matter will come to an end, promising to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves. They pledged to work on sensitising the people and carrying out investigations on those suspected to have been responsible for the killings. After prayers, the meeting was officially closed and we all headed back to Wamba town for the night and in preparation for the following day’s meeting.

On 12th July the team left and after 4 hours of rough road driving arrived at the meeting venue where once again the community members were waiting. This time a lot of focus was on the killings in Namunyak, one of the oldest conservancies in the area and which by far receives the largest share of benefits from conservation practices. Chairmen from different different boards belonging to the local communities added their voices against and promises to help end these killings. On their part, the local communities promised to carry out internal meetings with youths suspected to be responsible for the elephant killings while Namunyak Conservancy and other stakeholders will monitor the progress closely. As the meeting was going on, other community members were preparing the day’s meal by slaughtering a bull for the event, which always comes with a lot of excitement and serves to show a bond between communities

Though the initial plan was for the Anti-poaching Awareness Campaign to be carried out for an entire week in various locations identified as elephant killing hotspots, due to unavoidable circumstances the meetings only went on for 2 days with plans for stakeholders to meet soon to forge a way forward for the remaining areas.

The 2 day campaign trial was successful in the areas visited with communities’ members present in large numbers and vowing to support and participate in anti-poaching campaigns.


Elders and community members keenly follow the meeting