OL PEJETA’S ANTI POACHING EFFORTS GO AIRBORNE
The killing of Max, an almost tame rhino on the sprawling Ol Pejeta Conservancy last year, marked the start of series of countermeasures since developed and refined on the conservancy, to strengthen anti poaching capabilities. 32 rangers from Ol Pejeta were selected and trained as police reservists, now able to carry automatic rifles after graduating from their course.
The new status saw these rangers then become the nucleus of a new well armed anti poaching unit on the estate, which works hand in hand with local law enforcement and the Kenya Wildlife Service to offer effective logistical support and provide numbers as soon as a poaching alert is issued.
Facilitated with ground transport the added element of airborne deployment has been introduced, providing a helicopter to airlift an instant response team to given locations, where poachers can then be engaged. 5 rangers with KPR status are now kept on standby for immediate deployment, should assistance be requested by the Kenya Police or KWS.
The results, compared with a year ago, are nothing short but excellent so far, as not one rhino was poached on Ol Pejeta in 2012 compared to 5 in 2011, and the single attempt this year effectively thwarted. Over the past months, 8 poachers were thus intercepted, arrested and are now facing prosecution. Well done to Richard Vigne and his team on Ol Pejeta (www.olpejetaconservancy.org) for this remarkable effort.