Since 2013 Mara Elephant Project has been supporting the conservation movement in the Aitong Hills, Kenya by being a founding partner of the Pardamat Conservancy. In 2014 MEP gifted the conservancy $20,000 though the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, who were instrumental in registering the conservancy and continue to work with them on a daily basis.
World Wildlife Fund supported a total of 21 rangers, 16 from Pardamat and five from Olkenyi, to attend the 3-month basic training at the Kenya Wildlife Service law enforcement academy in Manyani Tsavo at the beginning of 2016. When the rangers graduated, MEP along with the PREPARED USAID project hosted a six-day advanced ranger training at the MEP HQ in the Mara. The training focused on using specific tools and knowledge the rangers will be exposed to when working alongside MEP and while on regular deployment.
Details of the Training
Day 1, May 23: Introduction: arrival to the MEP HQ and introduction to the course by instructors. Divide into four teams of five and six rangers: Alpha to Delta.
Day 2, May 24: WILD Application Training: each participant was shown the WILD application process developed by USAID. In the morning each ranger was shown the attributes of the app. Then in the afternoon they were given real scenarios and had to fill in the patrol attributes into the six demo telephones.
Day 3, May 25: GPS and Radio Training: Each team was introduced to radio communications for morning call up, call signs and general radio SOPs which took about 2 hours. The rangers were then introduced to the GPS system (Garmin Foretrex 401s). This included saving tracks, imputing waypoints, tracking to waypoints and sending waypoints. The teams then competed against each other by all getting a set of coordinates and then tracking to them. The first team to arrive at the location won.
Day 4, May 26: Medic Training: All rangers were introduced to ABCs, LIONEL, CPR, Mass Bleeds, compound and open fractures. In the afternoon the rangers were instructed how to respond to a scenario and the team, which remembered and completed all the tasks, won.
Day 5, May 27: NSPs: All rangers were introduced to the Remington 7mm weapon’s system safety precautions. There was also live fire range work and competition.
Day 6, May 28: Helicopter SOPS: all rangers were introduced to procedures for safe helicopter deployment. All rangers were lifted during their practical session. Closing of training by instructors.
Each morning at 6:30 the team ran between 5 and 10kms. The rangers are all fighting fit.
Part of the PREPARED USAID activity process was to get feedback from all the rangers on the training. All the feedback was very positive and the rangers would have liked to continue with the training for a bit longer. The trainers also thought the training could have been extended. The skill level to use assets has been greatly increased and this will enable Pardamat rangers to deploy safely and effectively alongside the MEP rangers. The medic training also makes the rangers an important asset in the community because they can now react to a number of community emergencies. We are impressed with the rangers and the Pardamat Conservancy is lucky to have them. We are excited to continue to deploy more in the future.