One of our tracking dog is being deployed.
The donation you made towards our 'Armed Rangers' appeal have helped tremendously. Armed rangers are the heart of our anti-poaching operations and without them, our rhinos would be left unprotected. Supporting them means stopping poachers. Suppporting them means the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa keeps thriving.
The first quarter of the year has been business as usual for our team who have been able to efficiently and successfully carry out their duties, thanks to your support. Our team not only manages the safety of our wildlife, but are also often called by the members of our surrounding communities to assist with security issues. This has greatly improved our relationship with the communities who in turn stay vigilant of any suspicious characters trying to get to the wildlife, and alert us when they notice any possible intrusions on the fence line.
The team has handled a number of thefts and burglary cases, and assisted the local leaders in following up and arresting the culprits. Normally, the team will receive various requests during the night and then send a team to the sight the following morning unless it is an urgent request. The requests for help range from petty theft to serious cases of armed robbery.
On the 5th of January our head of security received a call about a theft that had taken place in Endana community. He gathered a team, including our tracking dog Stacey, and went to the location of the incident. They found out that three men had gone to the homestead and stolen 18 goats. Our tracker dog picked up the scent and followed it to an elderly lady’s home. When she was questioned, she told the team that a man had come knocking late in the night and had asked for a place to sleep, but had then left in the morning once he heard that our team was on his track. Since she knew his identity, the village elders led the team to the man’s family home where the goats were recovered and the man handed over to local authorities.
A lot of cases in our communities involve domestic animal and food crop as many of the communities are subsistence farmers. One such case was in the beginning of February when two suspects broke into a homestead by cutting open the iron roof sheets. They then stole 28 kilograms of peas. By the time our team was called to the scene, the suspects and peas were long gone but our tracker dog quickly followed their scent. This led the team from the homestead and three kilometers up to the main road where they lost the scent. This strongly suggested that the suspects got into a vehicle from that point. In such cases our team then hands over all the collected evidence to the local authorities for follow up.
Some cases require the use of ammunition and force especially where the people in the community or our staff are in a potentially dangerous situation. In February five armed suspects raided a homestead and while three of them led a cattle herd away, two were holding the owner captive. Once they had the cows safely out of the compound, they let him free. Once our team received the alert in the morning, they headed to the location together with the local police. Once again, our tracker dog came to the rescue and led them to a plain where they found nine of the thirteen stolen cows which had separated from the rest of the group during the robbery. The cows had erased any footprints by the suspects that the team could follow but the police are still following up on leads.
Our team has handled nine cases in the community in January and February and made three arrests. This would not be possible without the support you have sent and continue sending our way. While some of the equipment was received, some items have been procured and awaiting shipping. There has been further delay caused by the onset of COVID-19, but we are working on getting the rest of the equipment in the next few months. We cannot wait to give you further updates on the impact your contribution has made to our armed rangers.
Armed rangers in the field.
The Ol Pejeta armed rangers team.