NAIROBI: The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has partnered with global tourism business, TUI Care Foundation, to prevent poaching of wild elephants and stop human-elephant conflict in the Tsavo conservation area in Kenya.
Under IFAW’s innovative wildlife security initiative ‘tenBoma’, both government and community rangers are trained to better predict and respond to threats and protect the animals and local communities.
“The success of IFAW’s tenBoma approach relies on our ability to incorporate traditional knowledge from communities into a system of modern methods and technology,” Faye Cuevas, IFAW senior vice-president said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.
“TUI Care Foundation has made it possible for us to provide urgently needed equipment to community rangers such as mobile devices, cameras and boots so they can collect information on potential threats to wildlife and people,” she added.
The two organizations will use technology, systematic data processing systems and intelligence to implement the initiative.
According to IFAW, rangers in the field are also provided with communications and mobility equipment (including GPS, smartphones, radios and more) which enable them to respond more effectively and more rapidly to intercept poachers and reach areas where elephants come into conflict with humans by raiding their crops.
Thomas Ellerbeck, chairman of the Board of Trustees of TUI Care Foundation said the good aspect of this project lays in its virtuous combination of local knowledge, on the one hand, and technological developments on the other.
“Together with various local stakeholders, we are helping to build a strong basis for a sustainable social-ecological environment. After all, empowering the local community and building sense of ownership is crucial for long-lasting change,” said Ellerbeck.
The Tsavo Conservation Area, one of Kenya’s most visited tourism destinations, is home to about 12,850 African elephants, according to IFAW.
Among this population are at least 11 of the world’s 30 or so remaining ‘big tuskers’ (their tusks are long enough to reach the ground) and all face a mortal threat from poaching fueled by demand for ivory and human-elephant conflict.