Mara Elephant Project has developed and successfully manages two rapid response units and six anti-poaching patrol units consisting of 31 total rangers that monitor both poaching and human-elephant conflict hotspots and react to intelligence reports.
The intelligence reports are received from MEP’s widespread intelligence network of three intelligence rangers that infiltrate poaching gangs. These intelligence rangers infiltrate the poaching network and pose as gunmen, buyers and ivory dealers, then once evidence is presented they call in the ranger units and Kenya Wildlife Service to make arrests. The intelligence network also consists of informal informants who work on a bonus system. Once an informant has led the security team to a number of successful arrests the informant becomes an investigator.
MEP has developed a close partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, and Narok County Government by deploying 10 additional rangers from each organization within MEP’s units. All the rangers have completed several training courses, including commander’s, medic courses, and attend annual refresher training.
These rapid response units have clearly defined areas of operation split into two areas, while the intelligence team operates over a larger area. Living in field bases for two-week intervals, each patrol unit covers a strategically predetermined area of the Mara covering 4,000 km2.