First phase Tech for Tusks in Kenya starts – successfully!

« News | October 21, 2015 by Annika

ShadowView has officially started this week to bring the fight against elephant poaching in Kenya to a new level. During the first phase of the Tech for Tusks project, rangers receive training in some of the  basics that prepare them for the use of advanced technology. Under management of Boris Vos, a former marine with over twenty years of experience in tracking and specialized anti-poaching techniques, the park rangers are educated in patrolling in various formations and the nightly pursuit of suspects through the challenging African landscape. “Before we apply new techniques, we make sure rangers work safely and follow the right procedures. The basic formations we’re teaching them are of vital importance during a confrontation with poachers”, Boris explains.

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Boris providing the local and KWS rangers training in new formations

It’s not just field training that is important, but also intelligence from the community and rangers is essential to bring down poaching. “To name one example”, Spatial Crime Analyst Dominique Noome begins, “we received  information that for some locals, tuition for their children is motivation for poaching. They have to pay a large sum of money at once, and the impoverished locals often can’t pay this. If you know the problem, you can work with the authorities to handle it. Useful information is an important step in the protection of the animals in this reserve.”

To help rangers work more effectively, ShadowView equipped them with GPS-cameras. During patrols the rangers document what they encounter in photographs or video. To name a few examples: locations of elephant herds, where water wells are full or where snares have been found. This quick & simple method brings a pro-active attitude into the patrols and helps rangers stay focused on their surroundings. Analyst Dominique teaches them to analyse the information so they are able to calculate the likelihood of poaching in the area. After which the rangers are able to adjust their patrols accordingly. Meanwhile this method has already been used to arrest a suspect who was illegally producing charcoal in the reserve. The gathered images might be used to get a conviction in court.

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As soon as the basic training has been completed, ShadowView will help the rangers use specialized technologies in the coming weeks in the fight against elephant poachers.

For more information, please contact project manager in Kenya Laurens de Groot (+316 422 99 727, laurens@shadowview.org) or campaign manager Annika Lieben (+316 316 79975, annika@shadowview.org)