Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has announced that it will accomplish far-reaching results of transformational and technological solutions in Kenya within the next 100 RRI days which started on February 7th 2014 to detect and prevent wildlife crime, with the illegal wildlife trade estimated to be worth up to US$10 billion annually.
During the launch of 5th wave of Kenya Security Inter-Agency Working groups Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) in Nairobi, KWS Director William Kibet Kiprono said that the unit will anchor it`s RRI on addressing collaborative measures among the security agencies that confront the wildlife management with a view to implement shared actions.
According to the Director, it has become imperative that the service examine and evaluate the traditional and current wildlife management model systems and structures in view of adopting best practices and align them to global collaborative excellence.
“As wildlife management evolves, KWS is ready to adequately provide a secure environment for Kenyans and the wildlife. There has to be a complete shift in the way things are done as it is possible to reduce wildlife poaching using new incorporated strategies and drastically reduce the impact of livestock in our parks,” Kiprono said during the launch at KICC.
The director said the conception behind the new measure is a way that KWS intends to improve quality and efficiency of service to Kenyans within 100 days RRI on wildlife protection.
Kiprono said wildlife management sector is expected to play an important role in creating an enabling wildlife preservation environment for individuals and businesses to thrive as well as attract investment both from within and outside country.
KWS will strive to work closer with the communities to assist with the conservative interactions as well as equip them with the knowledge to better help in the community conservancy programmes.Kiprono said: “I`m inspired by the RRI wave to accomplish and break new ground using technologies and communities that have never been integrated before that provide a powerful wildlife protection solution.”
KWS`s chief conservationist said technology gave wildlife protection teams an advantage but needed to be combined with well-trained rangers on the ground able to respond rapidly to the data provided by the systems.
South African National Parks (SANParks) has turned to sky borne thermal imaging technologies in its battle against rhino poaching, while the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has implemented new anti-poaching technology to help rangers evaluate and improve the effectiveness of law enforcement patrols in the country’s national parks.
During the launch the director said in future once given better grants they will develop low-cost drones controlled by tablets, integrated specialized sensors and wildlife tagging technology to monitor wildlife in several parts of East Africa.
“This is aimed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. The long term goal as anticipated by the vision 2030 is a government agency that will continue implementing reform initiatives to address the dynamic wildlife management activities that the country needs from time to time.” he said
In an interview, Kiprono said KWS will enhance their wildlife security budget in an effort to reduce the increased poaching activities being witnessed in the country. Kiprono said that during the next 100 days, wildlife officers will be expected to change their way of doing business and maximize results albeit the available human resources in the sector.
The initiative aims at scaling up wildlife management in the country within the next 100 days.The Security Sector Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) was officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The passing of the new Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill which will see a big increase in sentencing for poachers and the ability for the KWS to act against staff who are working with poachers. The sentence for poaching is to increase to a maximum of 7 years in jail and the fine to increase to Ksh 1 million (approx. £7,500 – a substantial amount considering the annual income for the country).
“We at the KWS head office, apart from engaging the county government, have put up plans to establish more support and trainings for community conservancies for the better wildlife numbers,” he said.
“We are also engaging the communities living around these areas in sensitizing them not to poach, a menace which has been rampant due to growing population,” added the KWS director.
Kiprono on his part said that incorporating communities in conservation of wildlife would bear fruits, as it has been successful with Rhino conservation.
Kiprono thanked all the different agencies that work with the KWS. He also assured the public, both in Kenya and internationally, that the Kenya Wildlife Service is up to the job of protecting the country’s wildlife.
He concluded by saying, “We would like to assure all Kenyans and the world at large that KWS is up to the task of protecting our wildlife. We are appealing to all citizens of the world to cooperate with us in ensuring that our wildlife is secure. Ultimately, we all have a duty to save the last great species and places for humanity“.