African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) this morning, handed over equipment worth over Kshs. 3.7 million to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to go towards Lake Nakuru National Park’s antipoaching tracker unit. Earlier this year, AWF assisted KWS to build kennels, an office store, install water tanks and solar panels for the anti-poaching canine unit at the Lake Nakuru National Park. The equipment handed over today including computers, printer GPS sets, kongs and leashes, tents, tables and chairs among others will support KWS in protecting rhino and wildlife in the park. Other items donated by AWF are face masks (for protection against) Covid-19, desert storm boots and tents for the rangers.
This handover is part of AWF’s emergency response plan which was developed at the onset of COVID 19 pandemic for the hardest hit areas where AWF operates. Through emergency response, AWF has been able to deliver food rations, personal protective equipment (PPEs), fuel for field vehicles and critical livelihood support for wildlife rangers and communities to continue patrols in poaching hot spots across Africa.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, KWS Director General Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru thanked AWF for its continued support of KWS programs. “We remain grateful to AWF for their unwavering support for wildlife and habitat conservation. We are particularly thankful for the support of our canine unit, which is critical in tracking wildlife traffickers and poachers. It is making a huge difference in the fight against illegal killing of our wildlife,” he said.
AWF Vice President for Species Conservation and Science, Dr. Philip Muruthi said that, AWF’s mission is to ensure wildlife and wildlands thrive in modern Africa and, this we must accomplish in spite of the Covid 19 global pandemic. We are dedicated in ensuring that conservation work continues and the gains already made are not eroded. This handover is testament of AWF’s longstanding commitment partnership with KWS. Together we shall sustain the current positive growth trend of Kenya’s rhino, elephants and recover, and stabilize declining populations of wildlife. The tracking dog program definitely keeps perpetrators at bay, both as a deterrent and via direct arrests, ensuring that our wildlife thrive especially at such a time when resources are limited on many fronts. AWF is convinced that wildlife and nature conservation overall is key to Africa’s sustainable development and human well-being.
The handover ceremony comes just a few days after AWF COVID 19 response Webinar which saw the organization announce the results of how it has allocated directly $1,551,103 raised to date. The online webinar featured first-hand testimonials from landscape managers and ecologists, in Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia (including an update on the armed conflict and civil unrest in the Tigray Region); the Tsavo-Mkomazi Landscape, Kenya; the Dja Faunal Reserve, Cameroon; and the Mid-Zambezi Landscape, Zimbabwe.