Mara Elephant Project deploys a total of 57 rangers in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in 2018 supported a permanent ranger unit in the Mau Forest, adding six new rangers to bring our formidable team to 57 total, a far cry from the eight rangers we started with in 2011. In addition, MEP employs three intelligence officers who have been at the center of many arrests and seizures. Since 2011, MEP and the Kenya Wildlife Service have arrested 354 total poachers which has resulted in the seizure of 1,493 kilograms of ivory. MEP’s presence in the Mara has resulted in less elephant deaths due to poaching. In 2012, 96 elephants were poached for their ivory in the Mara ecosystem, in 2017, that total fell to four and remained steady into 2018. This is a reduction in the percentage of illegally killed elephants (PIKE) in 2012 from 83% to 24% in 2018.
MEP rangers work tirelessly in their patrol units to protect elephants to conserve the greater Mara ecosystem, one of Kenya’s most important ecosystems. MEP’s rangers are at the forefront of our anti-poaching operations and human-elephant conflict mitigation efforts through boots on the ground initiatives, living out in the field for up to two-months at a time. Ranger retention and morale are of the upmost important to MEP. This is why in 2019 we introduced a program where each MEP ranger can have the school fees provided in full for up to two of their children. This offer extends to primary, secondary, university or vocational education and includes boarding and day school. One of the largest costs for parents living and working in Kenya is education and MEP rangers are no exception. They work in very tough conditions and need to know that their families are taken care of to focus on their job. MEP is constantly looking into programs to incentivize them and their children’s education is a great way to begin 2019.
“On behalf of MEP rangers, we are really grateful for the children school fees program. The program has benefited all of MEP ranger’s children in different levels in schools. This has eased our role as parents because our children are getting quality education through this program. All rangers are really happy, and all say thank you since the start of the program. I want also to say thank you to our CEO, Marc Goss and MEP Board of Trustees for coming up with this program.” MEP Assistant Warden Jackson Maitai
The application process for the program has several requirements to ensure transparency. This offer is for all MEP staff and rangers and the school fees must go to biological children that is proven by birth certificate. Additionally, you’re required to bring a school admission letter and fee structure which is all approved by MEP CEO Marc Goss and the MEP Trustee Board of Directors. Once paid, MEP is collecting receipts of payment from the school to ensure accuracy. This new program is estimated to cost MEP $15,000 in 2019; however, that only covers two children per ranger for the year. As school fees increase yearly and MEP rangers often have more than two children, MEP would love to expand this program in the future to include more than two children.
So, if you, like MEP, feel it’s vitally important to recognize the central part the rangers play in our conservation operations and want to support this program in 2019, please contact us or donate here. The need to ensure funding for ranger welfare is essential to recognize their dedicated efforts.