Outside the boundaries of Kenya's national parks, elephants are vulnerable to hunters and poachers.
Community liaison staff at our partner organization, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, pinpointed that some villages were using the proceeds from killing elephants to afford the school tuition fees for kids with high potential.
The communities in and around this large park are primarily supported by pastoralism and other agriculture with few opportunities for new livelihood options. Hunting of elephants for profit is an ongoing and growing threat.
In an effort to encourage communities surrounding the Tsavo National Parks to voluntarily cease the poaching of elephants for ivory, bushmeat, or trade, we stepped in to address the root cause.
For five years, we have been entering into agreements with village leaders. The purpose of this program is to create a buffer zone around the national park, where the animals are not officially protected, by engaging local communities to participate in conservation.
Three communities around Tsavo National Parks, with a history of elephant hunting, have now ceased elephant poaching activities in exchange for scholarships, administered carefully by CofC, for their top students.
Children of Conservation’s Anti-Poaching Initiative is designed to eliminate poaching and hunting for bushmeat in and around the park. Our scholarships are the consideration given in exchange for a binding agreement with a village chief to ban poaching and promote wildlife conservation.
The further effect of this program is that the villages we collaborate with encourage their counterparts in neighboring communities to stop hunting elephants so that the scholarships are not jeopardized.
Betty is one of the recipients of our Tsavo scholarships. Her village has not killed an elephant for five years in exchange for her education. Read her story here.
In northern Uganda, elephants roam large distances near the border with South Sudan. Elephants have wonderful protection by park rangers and wildlife professionals within Kidepo Valley National Park. However, outside the park, they are vulnerable to poachers and hunters.
We are partnering with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to create a buffer zone around Kidepo National Park, outside the area where the animals are officially protected, by engaging local communities to participate in conservation.
The volunteer Community Wildlife Scouts of the Kidepo Valley wildlife corridor have been recruited from communities surrounding the park border by Uganda Wildlife Authority community liaison staff.
In an effort to mitigate the human impact on the environment and for communities to continue to benefit from eco-tourism of visitors brought to the area by the national park, teams of scouts have been established.
They are currently effectively managing human-wildlife conflict and anti-poaching in an area of more than 580 square miles. However, the scouts, who are not armed, are facing threats from high-level poachers who have much better technology and resources than they do.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority supports these scouts and trains them to arrest and detain poachers, collect evidence and then appear in court during proceedings to prosecute ivory traffickers.
They do not have boots to tolerate the terrain they work in, they do not have hand-held GPS devices to allow them to capture information and track poachers. They do not have smartphones needed for evidence recording and cyber tracking of criminals. They do not have meals to eat while out on multi-day scouting trips.
We aim to provide this to them to allow them to continue their life-saving work.