KWS and IFAW launch partnership to help curb elephant poaching
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) have launched a partnership designed to protect elephants and curb the increasing poaching crisis.
The IFAW’s tenBoma initiative was launched yesterday by Prof. Judi Wakhungu, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
The thinking behind tenBoma has been derived from ‘Nyumba Kumi’(Kiswahili for ten homes)’, a community policing initiative launched by the Kenyan government. Under this partnership, the tenBoma initiative will expand to include Kenya’s national parks and surrounding areas to form a network to protect wildlife and communities from criminal poaching gangs.
“Kenya is determined to protect our elephants, we will do everything in our power to destroy the poaching networks and we are proud to be involved in this innovative pilot project,” said Prof. Wakhungu.
The project will be conducted in two phases with the first stage ensuring that KWS rangers have the equipment and training they need to collect valuable data.
The second phase will integrate a collaborative geospatial monitoring platform to marry data collection with targeted analysis and dissemination of information to identify poaching associated indicators. Targeted analysis of the information will be conducted to identify patterns in poaching related activities that enables KWS to intercept poachers prior to the elephants’ slaughter.
“This is tremendously important to the Kenya Wildlife Service. Too often our officers are confronted with the carcasses of elephants and are battling to solve the crime after it has happened. This project could ensure that we have the intelligence we need to strike first,’’ said William Kiprono, the Acting Director General of KWS.
According to IFAW, the tenBoma project builds upon lessons learned and experience gained from successfully applying network targeting analysis and information sharing principals to support counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.
“This partnership makes innovative use of the most powerful weapon we have in this fight—information,” said Azzedine Downes, the President and CEO of IFAW.
“Over a relatively short period of time we will be able to determine if there are patterns that will help to ensure that the KWS have enforcement officers deployed to the right area at the right time, effectively heading off poaching incidents. For too long the focus has been on monitoring species and products and not enough attention has been given to the networks that drive the illicit trade. tenBoma seeks to fill this gap,” said Mr. Downes.
IFAW says tenBoma represents the latest evolution of IFAW’s efforts to smash every link in the illegal wildlife trade chain: from supporting poaching patrols in Africa, and working with INTERPOL and national governments on stings, to training customs officers in transit countries including the Middle East and demand reduction campaigns in China.