TUI Care Foundation & IFAW partner to prevent elephant poaching in Kenya through technology

February 19 2019

Berlin, 19 February 2019. TUI Care Foundation has joined forces with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to stop poaching of wild elephants before it happens and prevent human-elephant conflict in the Tsavo Conservation Area of Kenya. Through IFAW’s innovative wildlife security initiative ‘tenBoma’, both government and community rangers are trained to better predict and respond to threats and protect the animals and local communities.

Technology, systematic data processing systems and intelligence are the key tools for the implementation of this initiative. Information collected among locals includes, for example, the detection of unknown car tire prints near a village, smoke from an open fire outside a village area or the type of materials used to kill elephants. All this information is compiled in a database and analyzed to find patterns and identify, for instance, hotspots where poaching incidents seem to occur more often. This intelligence is then shared directly with the field teams who can take appropriate action. Rangers in the field are also provided with communications and mobility equipment (including GPS, smartphones, radios and more) which enable them to respond more effectively and more rapidly to intercept poachers and reach areas where elephants come into conflict with humans by raiding their crops. 

In partnership with Kenya Wildlife Service and Tsavo Trust, the initiative provides training and mentoring to 130 Kenya Wildlife Service and community rangers to transform data into actionable information so as to reduce poaching and human-elephant conflict incidents.  

Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of TUI Care Foundation, says: “An exciting aspect of this project lays in its virtuous combination of local knowledge, on the one hand, and technological developments on the other. Together with various local stakeholders, we are helping to build a strong basis for a sustainable social-ecological environment. After all, empowering the local community and building sense of ownership is crucial for long-lasting change.”

“The success of IFAW’s tenBoma approach relies on our ability to incorporate traditional knowledge from communities into a system of modern methods and technology,” says Faye Cuevas – Senior Vice President at IFAW. “TUI Care Foundation has made it possible for us to provide urgently needed equipment to community rangers such as mobile devices, cameras and boots so they can collect information on potential threats to wildlife and people.”

The Tsavo Conservation Area, one of Kenya’s most visited tourism destinations, is home to approximately 12,850 African elephants. Among this population are at least 11 of the world’s 30 or so remaining ‘big tuskers’ (so-called because their tusks are long enough to reach the ground). They all face a mortal threat from poaching fueled by demand for ivory and human-elephant conflict. Cuevas continues: “State-of-the-art crime scene investigation training supported by TUI Care Foundation for 40 wildlife service rangers in Tsavo East National Park means that rangers can now better protect Tsavo’s ‘big tuskers’ from unique threats like poison arrow poaching through more efficient collection and preservation of forensic evidence at a poaching crime scene.”

Unlike other National Parks, the Tsavo Conservation Area does not have fences. As it is part of their natural behavior, elephants roam from one park to another and can enter into conflict with indigenous pastoralist communities living in the area, including the Maasai people. Working together and actively involving these communities is crucial to developing a sustainable strategy to protect elephants and livelihoods. The initiative is providing members of five local communities with the necessary strategies and tools to effectively and proactively combat poaching and human-elephant conflicts while creating a safe and vibrant ecosystem.

As part of its TUI Elephant Aid programme, TUI Care Foundation has been actively supporting projects for the protection of elephant populations worldwide since its foundation. In Tanzania, local farmers were taught how to protect their crops with elephant friendly solutions and foster a virtuous coexistence with these ancient creatures. In Thailand, TUI Care Foundation currently supports local entrepreneurs to develop elephant friendly venues where visitors can experience elephants in their natural habitat.

About TUI Care Foundation

Building on the potential of tourism as a force for good, the TUI Care Foundation supports and initiates partnerships and projects which create new opportunities for the young generation and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting holidaymakers to good causes, the TUI Care Foundation fosters education and training initiatives to open up new opportunities and perspectives for young people, the protection of the natural environment in holiday destinations and sustainable livelihoods in thriving destinations where local communities can benefit even more from tourism. TUI Care Foundation works global and acts local - it builds on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful and long lasting impact. The charitable foundation values transparency and the efficient use of funds. Therefore 100% of the donations go to destination programmes with all administration costs of the foundation covered by TUI. TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world’s leading tourism business, and is based in the Netherlands.

Contacts:

TUI Care Foundation

Christian Rapp, Head of Media Relations

+49 511 566 6028

christian.rapp@tui.com

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Annelyn Close, Global Communications Lead – Wildlife Crime

+32 472 01 02 61

aclose@ifaw.org

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