Save the Elephants joins the 9-2 Anti Poaching Force


Chris Leadismo, STE & Trezer Oguda (Communications Intern)

Date Published

The area to the west of Isiolo has been plagued by some of the worst poaching to be seen in Kenya. STE recently joined a new mobile security force created by the Northern Rangelands Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service to patrol the region.

Known as “9-2” (after the success of its sister unit, 9-1, in Laikipia), the team patrols the southern part of Buffalo Springs Reserve, covering the area all the way to Nakupurat Gotu Conservancy, down to Kipsing area, the Tale Hills and Oldonyiro. The conservancies here have recently joined the Northern Rangelands Trust concept, and while locals are being trained up as rangers they are in need of security.

Chris Leadismo, STE’s anti-poaching team leader, was seconded to this team along with an STE anti-poaching vehicle, and has been patrolling with them over the last two months. He writes:

This team has pulled together the most reliable people possible to beef up the security of the conservancies to stop this rampant poaching. I have no doubt that 9-2 – a group of thirteen (13) rangers and selected from different Conservancies, that’s Leparua, Nasuulu, Lekuruki, Mpus Kutuk, Il Ingwezi and Nakuprat Gotu Conservancy – will work to respond immediately and act very quickly whenever they get any reports related to security issues.

“We have no permanent camp. Instead, it’s a mobile team that spends every night in the bush hunting the poachers… As we go I am teaching the team about the Monitoring the illegal killing of Elephants (MIKE) work that I do, and which has proved so important in getting international recognition of the crisis.

During the teams first two months of patrols, no cases of poaching were reported in their target area. The team sprang into action on several other matters, however, nabbing cattle raiders following firefights and returning stolen animals to their owners.

One challenge experienced by newly established conservancy security teams (like Nasuulu) is the difficulty of arming and training a new conservancy force with appropriate firearms. In April and May, Chris underwent weapons training with 9-1 and 9-2 scouts. This ensures that when the Nasuulu scouts qualify to carry weapons, he will be able to train them and augment the area’s anti-poaching operations. Chris reports:

In May I participated in a military course, also undergone by both 9-1 and 9-2 teams. Mr. Pete Newland was the instructor, training both teams on gun use and how to patrol the bush while carrying arms. We received extensive training covering contact drills, car contact, First Aid and range shooting. Our training began in Sera and Sarara regions and concluded at Borana Ranch. I was grateful to have this opportunity to learn to handle a weapon and learn about gun safety which will be invaluable for anti-poaching missions.