By Judith Akolo
The government is not relenting anymore on the war on poaching and has embarked on a rigorous recruitment exercise of Kenya Wildlife Service – KWS rangers to be posted in all the hot spots that have seen an increase in poaching incidents.
The Kenya Wildlife Service commenced the emergency recruitment exercise of rangers to peg the yawning gap in personnel to effectively fight the poaching menace.
The KWS Law Enforcement College Commandant based in Manyani Dickson Lesimir who is in charge of the recruitment exercise, said the decision to recruit from the National Youth Service was to reduce the amount of time needed to train the personnel and have them posted to hot spots affected by poaching.
“We are recruiting form NYS so as to get people who have already undergone paramilitary training and are ready to take up the job as rangers,” said Lesimir.
Speaking at the NYS headquarters in Nairobi’s Ruaraka, Lesimir said the National Youth Service is the main incubation point for youthful Kenyans who have also undergone paramilitary training and will be effective in boosting the numbers of rangers in the field.
Lesimir said the decision to recruit from NYS was also informed by the need to have skilled manpower that “will only require a short time to fine tune and send them off to the field.”
He said. KWS hopes to recruit 600 rangers from among the NYS Trainees beginning Monday through to Thursday to fill the yawning shortage of rangers.
Among the requirements for recruitment include a national identity card, an NYS card, original certificates with a minimum of D- at in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education – KCSE and must be physically fit.
The government last week set in motion a reorganisation process at the quasi-government institution charged with the onerous responsibility of protecting Kenya’s wildlife with the appointment of an inter ministerial committee that will oversee operations at the KWS. A senior officer from the National Intelligence Service – NIS is also expected to be seconded to KWS to overhaul and revamp the intelligence unit and aid in using intelligence to fight poaching.
The Ministry of Environment also sent six senior officers on compulsory leave and embarked on investigations into operations at the state corporation.
Among other measures put in place to address the poaching menace include; the Formation of an anti-poaching committee, Review of the budget and channeling of resources to the KWS core business, restructure and revamp the intelligence unit of KWS, worked closely with county governments, purchase of 50 new four-wheel drive vehicles to ensure mobility of rangers, reconstitution of the tender committee to fast-track the procurement of critical security equipment, and the rationalization of allowances for rangers.