Date Published:

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 15:00

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) commemorated this year’s World Ranger day at a colourful ceremony presided over by the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Hon. Najib Balala at her Law Enforcement Academy (LEA) located inside the expansive Tsavo Conservation Area.

World Ranger Day is marked annually on the 31st of July to celebrate the work and accomplishment of rangers in protecting the planet’s natural treasurers and cultural heritage, as well as to commemorate those killed or injured in the line of duty. Rangers are on the frontline in the conservation of nature, and this day offers all and sundry a chance to support and celebrate them for going beyond the call of duty under harsh conditions in their respective work locations.

Speaking during the ceremony, Hon. Balala announced that the Kenya government has extended community scouts’ tenure which started in 2021 to now run until February 2023. Community scouts were recruited to give support to regular rangers in the onerous duty of wildlife conservation. “Their tenure was to end on July 31, 2022, but we have worked hard to ensure that it is extended to so that they can continue conserving our flora and fauna”, said the Cabinet Secretary.

Hon. Balala also announced that his ministry has provided LEA with Sh. 300- million to establish a boot camp at the academy to train civilians, both local and international. “The boot camp welcomes civilians, from and outside Kenya, who want to work as wildlife conservation rangers”, said Hon. Balala. The Cabinet Secretary expressed optimism that KWS will enhance her revenue collection after the acquisition of a new revenue management system that will see digitization of park entry and payment for other services offered.

He paid glowing tribute to rangers for their exemplary performance through great sacrifice and gallantry that is driven by passion and love for wildlife despite many challenges. “As a country we have put conservation as top priority, and this has earned us a name among conservation champions” said the Cabinet Secretary.

He appreciated the virtuous work by KWS security team which has seen incidents of poaching almost vanquished, noting that this has come at a heavy price of loss of lives and injuries. He recalled that the last five years have been borne with heavy responsibility, and once again commended the security team for embracing intelligence-based surveillance that has seen many suspected poachers apprehended.

KWS Director General Brigadier (Rtd) John Waweru paid tribute to rangers for their great sacrifice to protect and conserve wildlife. Brigadier (Rtd) Waweru noted that rangers multitask, offering other services like being teachers, researchers, census-takers, advisors, law enforcers, fathers, and mothers to the communities they live with. Rangers, he noted, also play a key role in human-wildlife conflict, adding the Problem Animal Control Unit (PAMU) rangers are constantly on the move, country wide, to rescue, retrieve and relocate wildlife which have strayed into human settlements.

The DG appreciated Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala for “the immense support you have given KWS over the last five years”, adding “we have succeeded because you have stood by us, walked with us and guided us”. He also thanked NGOs and other partners for their support to KWS.

The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Zeinab Hussein described rangers as conservation heroes and champions who are passionate and patriotic. She acknowledged being aware of the many conservation challenges facing them, including human wildlife conflict, poaching, and habitat loss among others. The Principal Secretary assured KWS of her support to ensure “we continue to conserve and protect our wildlife and the spaces”.