The project will run in the Tsavo Conservation Area, one of the country’s most visited tourism destinations, 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 fuelled by demand for ivory. Through IFAW’s innovative wildlife security initiative ‘tenBoma’, both government and community rangers are trained to anticipate and respond to threats to animals and local communities.
TenBoma, meaning ten houses, is inspired by an African community philosophy that professes if ten houses look out for each other, the wider community is safe. This philosophy is at the heart of IFAW’s work which aims to create a co-ordinated wildlife security network, trained and equipped to stay one step ahead of the organised poachers that have impacted elephant populations in Africa.
Technology, systematic data processing systems and intelligence collection are the key to the initiative. Local communities keep a vigilant eye on suspicious activity – from detecting unknown tyre prints to seeing camp fire smoke from outside a village area. This data is then catalogued and forensically analyised and any emerging patterns shared with field rangers who can put plans in place to counter potential threats. Rangers are provided with communications and mobility equipment including GPS, smartphones, radios and satellite equipment which enable them to respond more effectively and rapidly to intercept poachers.
In partnership with Kenya Wildlife Service and Tsavo Trust, the initiative provides training and mentoring to 130 Kenya Wildlife Service and community rangers.
Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of TUI Care Foundation, commented, “An exciting aspect of this project lies in its combination of local knowledge on the one hand and the latest technological developments on the other. Together with various local stakeholders we are helping to build a strong basis for a sustainable social-ecological environment. Empowering the local community and building sense of ownership is crucial for long-lasting change.
Faye Cuevas, Senior Vice President at IFAW said, “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. State-of-the-art crime scene investigation training supported by TUI Care Foundation 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.”
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 - building on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful, long lasting impact. The charitable foundation values transparency and the efficient use of funds. 100% of donations go to destination programmes with all administration costs of the foundation covered by TUI.
Founded in 1969 the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit organisation that protects animals and the places they call home. With offices in 15 countries and projects in over 40, IFAW rescue, rehabilitate and release animals into secure landscapes around the world. In collaboration with governments and local communities, experienced campaigners, legal and political experts and internationally acclaimed scientists pioneer lasting solutions to some of the most pressing animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues of our time.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk