Attention! Proud Graduation for Olgulului-Ololarashi Community Scouts
On a mission to save elephants and protect human livelihoods, 10 young men proudly graduated as community scouts in Amboseli on Friday.
“They have passed with flying colours,” said James Isiche, Director of IFAW East Africa, which funded the training of the graduates from Olgulului-Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR) in Amboseli. The students were trained at the KWS Enforcement Academy.
“These young graduates are now highly trained community scouts and will be responsible for safeguarding OOGR, the communities that live in it, and the wildlife that disperses there and sometimes comes into conflict with farmers and villagers,” said Isiche.
OOGR borders Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, and Amboseli’s 1,400 elephants and other wildlife routinely move into the ranch area, particularly during the rainy season.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) has a long standing relationship with the leadership and people of OOGR, and it was at their request that IFAW agreed to fund the training. The 10 candidates were handpicked by OOGR.
“It was essential that these game scouts be sons and daughters of OOGR, as they are the ones who will best understand and serve their community and also pass on their new skills,” said Isiche.
Although the OOGR has 42 scouts, until now few of them had undergone the specialized three month training offered by the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani. The new scouts will form the nucleus of the team, and do on-the-job training of their colleagues while they wait their turn to attend the academy.
IFAW’s support will also kit out the team with new uniforms and other items to enable them to work more effectively.
Elephants are a flagship species, and IFAW East Africa has been working to safeguard elephants in Kenya for many years – in Amboseli this focused on winning space for elephants.
The OOGR is roughly 3.5 times the size of Amboseli National Park and nearly 97 per cent of the park’s perimeter borders the ranch. The OOGR not only supports farming endeavours but also has a thriving tourism industry.
“IFAW believes a professional and effective wildlife protection unit within OOGR, means that elephants and wildlife will live free and secure. The survival of wildlife on OOGR lands in turn assists in the development of successful tourism products, which benefits the local community,” said Isiche.
“We are certain the new scouts will do the OOGR proud.”
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information visit, www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter..