State Department for Wildlife has handed over five patrol motor vehicles and 20 motorbikes to the Maasai Mara and Tsavo landscape partners as part of an initiative aimed at combating poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking in Kenya.
Speaking at Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) headquarters on Monday, State Department for Wildlife Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor said that the project is led by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife as the implementing partner and prescribes a long-term solution towards poaching and illegal trafficking in the Maasai Mara and Tsavo landscapes.
“There is need to guard the landscapes of Maasai Mara and Tsavo as they are the last frontiers for wildlife in Kenya and the provided vehicles and motorbikes will help increase the capacity to co-ordinate and respond to the anti-poaching fight,” said Segor.
The PS stated that the anti-poaching project is financed by Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has a highly coordinated approach within and between wildlife management and law enforcement entities, county governments as well as wildlife conservancies established by local communities.
“This handing over of vehicles marks a critical step towards increasing the effectiveness of protected areas, conservancies, and local law enforcement agencies to reduce poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking in threatened species,” said the PS.
According to the PS, KWS is set to receive two vehicles and 4 motorbikes for use in the Tsavo Conservation Area, Narok County government two vehicles for use in the Maasai Mara National Reserve while Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association one vehicle for use in the conservancies forming the buffer zone around Maasai Mara National Reserve and Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservancies six motorbikes for use across the Taita-Taveta Ranches.
Noting that poaching of elephants has reduced from 61 in 2016 to five in 2020, the PS said that the project will ensure the numbers remain low by strengthening the capacity of project partners through continued provision of necessary equipment and support to protect the wildlife.
“KWS has actively been involved in combating poaching and is modernising its equipment to ensure they are ahead of poachers,” stated Segor.
By Moffin Opilio and Manu Mumba