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KWS prioritises rangers’ welfare

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Acting Director General Dr. Erastus Kanga has assured Game Rangers of their welfare and that of their families as they carry out their duties.

Kanga said that the government will continue improving the health insurance cover and proper housing for the Rangers to enable them to serve without worries, adding that the officers are an important cog in the conservation of wildlife, especially endangered species.

The Ag Director General said this in a speech read on his behalf by a Senior Assistant Director in charge of the Coast Conservation Area, Mr. John Wambua, during celebrations to mark this year’s World Ranger Day held at the Malindi Marine National Park in Kilifi County.

Kanga said this will include a variety of benefits such as housing, extraneous allowances, medical care, capacity building, and encouraging rangers to participate in extracurricular activities such as sporting events.

“With support from the Tourism Cabinet Secretary and the ministry’s leadership, I promise to keep this at the top of our priorities,” he added. “As such, the KWS management understands too well the importance of continuous staff welfare improvement to ensure that rangers are fully facilitated,” he said.

He showered rangers with accolades, noting that through the rangers’ dedication and commitment to conservation, poaching of key species such as rhinoceroses and elephants had been significantly suppressed in the country in the past few years.

Kanga described rangers as the strong glue that holds the different pages of the conservation book together; without them, all conservation efforts would fail and Kenya’s wildlife heritage would become extinct, only to be seen in documentaries and museums.

On his part, Wambua said KWS had one of the best medical insurance policies in the country.

He encouraged rangers, apart from going to the hospital for medical attention, to go for counselling in order to maintain their mental wellbeing, noting that the extraneous work done by rangers could easily lead to a mental breakdown.

Wambua, who said he started as a ranger and rose through the ranks to become an assistant director, encouraged rangers to build their capacities through education so they could get promotions.

He said that the families of rangers killed in the line of duty get compensated within one month after their demise.

The Acting Director of Enforcement and Emergency Response at the Kenya Coast Guard, Dr. John Wanyoike, said without rangers, Kenya would not have its heritage and wildlife.

By Emmanuel Masha

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