We believe it’s fitting that on World Wildlife Day, Mara Elephant Project is announcing the launch of a new ranger team committed to protecting Kenyan wildlife and wild spaces. It’s also fitting given the theme this year is Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation, because it takes a lot of partners to launch a new ranger team.
Let’s talk about our government partners, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Wildlife Research and Training Institute Kenya (WRTI). Both KWS and KFS support MEP ranger teams in their efforts to protect wildlife and their habitats while WRTI supports the conservation and research efforts to monitor the ecosystem to inform smarter protection practices. The collared elephant movement data when paired with the spatial-temporal data (fences, farms, infrastructure) collected and evaluated informed our decision to launch a team in the Mosiro area. A conclusion not possible without our government partners and the use of technology like EarthRanger, another key partner.
Mosiro is an ecologically important area for elephants because it forms a linkage between the Loita Forest, Mau Forest, the Maasai Mara, Natron in Tanzania and Amboseli, and elephants in this area are facing several threats. They are competing with livestock for scarce grazing resources, encountering conflict at water points, and traversing a growing number of farms and settlements, putting them into conflict with the community. A permanent ranger team was needed to protect not only the elephants, but the communities living in Mosiro as well.
This leads to a vital partner, the funder, which allows MEP to launch our ninth ranger team. The foundation that is funding this team for two years is committed to supporting the engagement of local communities in conservation. They partnered with MEP because of our approach to teach, train and employ local people to protect both their neighbors and the wildlife that co-exist in Mosiro.
Which brings us to another key partner, the Mosiro community. The new ranger team is recruited directly from people living in Mosiro and on February 10, 41 potential candidates arrived at one of the local primary schools to be considered for the job in conservation. The recruitment started with a 3 km timed run and then moved into interviews with CEO Marc Goss and Assistant Senior Warden Jackson Maitai; also there to support the effort were three members of the MEP “Charlie” ranger team Caren, Fancy and Philemon.
We’ve selected seven candidates for this co-ed team to continue on to training at MEP’s headquarters in the Mara. All of our training is in house and will commence in March and take six weeks to complete. Once completed, they’ll have a passing out parade (a graduation) and then the community ranger team will be deployed to Mosiro.
It takes partners at all levels working together in order to safeguard the future of species currently threatened with extinction and to secure a healthier planet for everyone. A core value for Mara Elephant Project is to collaborate in conservation and the many partnerships we’ve developed over the last decade have contributed directly to the successful protection of elephants, communities and the Greater Mara Ecosystem.