Since 2011, Mara Elephant Project has developed and successfully manages 38 rangers that make up our rapid response anti-poaching units and six patrol units that patrol hotspots and react to intelligence reports. In addition to our 38 rangers, MEP has developed a close partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, and Narok County Government by embedding 10 rangers from each organization into MEP teams. Since inception, the rapid response units and intelligence teams have been responsible for 316 arrests of ivory dealers, middlemen and poachers. These activities have raised the opportunity cost of poaching in the areas of operation, decreased elephant mortalities, and increased the number of convicted wildlife criminals.
In 2018, thanks to the generous support of our partner, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), MEP expanded our area of operation into the eastern Mau Forest by implementing a permanent ranger unit in the forest to monitor our two collared elephants, shutdown illegal logging sites, remove harmful snares and investigate and arrest poachers.
All current MEP rangers have completed several training courses, including commander training, medic courses, and attend annual refresher training; however, the newly hired DSWT team had not received their training yet. This is why, in April, one of the larger ranger trainings took place at MEP HQ. Starting on April 14, nine new MEP rangers and seven DSWT rangers received basic tactical training, which included drill, discipline, field craft, law, fitness, patrol, medic, map reading, and asset training on standard operating procedures for radio, GPS, InReach, WILD, and the helicopter. The classroom sessions also included an introduction to wildlife management.
MEP was fortunate to have County Warden Patrick Gilai from the Narok County Government to help lead the training. The final week of the 4-week training took place in the Mau Forest so rangers could learn operational field craft, bush craft, which deals with forest ambush procedures, and learn how to use the GPS and read a map in a dense forest. The graduation celebration took place at the Mau Forest Emitik station and was well attended by the community, KWS, Kenya police, OCPD Kuresoi, Kericho County representatives, Narok County and Bomet County representatives, administrational leaders from the MCA area and local leaders.
MEP C.E.O. Marc Goss along with County Warden Patrick Gilai and all of the newly trained rangers.
The aim of the training is to improve the ranger’s abilities to operate professionally in difficult and stressful situations which improves the success rate of arrests, and expands patrol abilities, distances and recording data. Congratulations to everyone who successfully completed their training.