Garissa — The Kenyan government plans to recruit 500 rangers from the National Youth Service (NYS) and deploy them to wildlife parks in August as part of a wider effort to crack down on poachers.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the move on June 7th, when he approved the Wildlife Conservation and Management bill. The bill raised fines for poaching to 1 million shillings ($11,800), legislated the confiscation of offenders' properties and outlined penalties for government officials found guilty of conniving with poachers.
"The youth at the NYS have already had some crucial training, including physical and legal training. We will subject them to further training for the ranger jobs," said Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Director William Kiprono, adding that the recruitment would be closed to the public.
"If we were to recruit directly from the public, it would take nine months to train them, but with the NYS, it would take at most two months," he told Sabahi. he NYS was established in 1964 to train youths in tasks of national importance, including service in the armed forces, national reconstruction programmes and disaster response.
Recruits must have high school diplomas and no criminal records, Kiprono said, adding the KWS will also try to strike a balance with gender and region of origin. Recruiting rangers from the NYS is necessary because they urgently are needed to help tackle poaching,
Kiprono said. "It is an all-out war against poaching activities. Failure is not an option," he said. Poachers killed 360 elephants and 19 rhinos in 2012, according to KWS statistics.
In the first half of 2013, poachers killed 137 elephants and 24 rhinos, and harvested 5,842 kilograms of ivory and rhino horns. To date this year, authorities have arrested 123 suspects in connection to poaching activities. The KWS plans to deploy most of the new recruits to the Tsavo National Parks, where poaching is rampant, Kiprono said. He praised the government for boosting its support of the wildlife service. READ MORE