tenBoma—from fighting terrorism to saving elephants

tenBoma—from fighting terrorism to saving elephants
Monday, 16 March, 2015
Nairobi, Kenya

A unique partnership designed to lead to a breakthrough in the elephant poaching crisis was announced today by Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary, Kenya Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

A statement of intent was signed between IFAW and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officially launching IFAW’s tenBoma project which aims to protect elephants by stopping poaching before it happens.

tenBoma takes its name from an existing Kenyan community policing philosophy called ‘Nyumba Kumi’ in Swahili or ‘Ten Houses’. tenBoma expands that same philosophy to include Kenya’s national parks and surrounding areas to form a network to protect wildlife and communities from criminal poaching gangs.

“Kenya is determined to protect our elephants—we will do everything in our power to destroy the poaching networks and we are proud to be involved in this innovative pilot project,” said Prof. Wakhungu.

This first stage of the tenBoma project will ensure that KWS rangers have the equipment and training they need to collect valuable data.

The next phase will integrate a collaborative geospatial monitoring platform to marry data collection with targeted analysis and dissemination of information to identify poaching associated indicators.  Targeted analysis of the information will be conducted to identify patterns in poaching related activities that enables KWS to intercept poachers prior to the elephants’ slaughter.

“This is tremendously important to the Kenya Wildlife Service. Too often our officers are confronted with the carcasses of elephants and are battling to solve the crime after it happens. This project could ensure that we have the intelligence we need to strike first. I am reiterating what the President of the Republic of Kenya His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta stated during the ivory burn on 3rd March that poachers and dealers will not have the final say in Kenya,” said William K. Kiprono, Acting Director General, Kenya Wildlife Service.

IFAW’s tenBoma project builds upon lessons learned and experience gained from successfully applying network targeting analysis and information sharing principals to support counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.

“This partnership makes innovative use of the most powerful weapon we have in this fight—information,” said Azzedine Downes, President and CEO of IFAW.

“Over a relatively short period of time we will be able to determine if there are patterns that will help to ensure that the KWS have enforcement officers deployed to the right area at the right time—effectively heading off poaching incidents. For too long the focus has been on monitoring species and products and not enough attention has been given to the networks that drive the illicit trade. tenBoma seeks to fill this gap,” said Mr. Downes.

tenBoma represents the latest evolution of IFAW’s efforts to smash every link in the illegal wildlife trade chain: from supporting poaching patrols in Africa, and working with INTERPOL and national governments on stings, to training customs officers in transit countries including the Middle East and demand reduction campaigns in China.

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals 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. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

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