In the wake of the death of our ex-orphan Selengai, who became yet another innocent victim of the ivory trade, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is implementing yet further measures to prevent any future atrocities, taking even greater action in the field against the growing threat of illegal poaching.
Just days after Selengai's death, 14 men chosen from the Trusts anti-poaching ranger force, graduated with honours from the Kenya Wildlife Services renowned Field Training Institute, the Manyani Academy, in Tsavo West. During such an insecure and distressing time these men, who are the first Manyani graduates from the DSWT teams, are beacons of hope and role models for the rest of the Trusts anti-poaching units, who with future funding are also expected to graduate from this vital training program to better assist the Kenya Wildlife Service in the struggle to prevent poaching.
During an intense and highly physical three month paramilitary course, the Trust's men were coached through a diverse curriculum incorporating Human Wildlife Conflict and Mitigation Measures, Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Capture, Arrest and Weaponry, amongst a variety of field based skills including Field Survival and GPS Mapping. This program supports and prepares these men for not only protecting and preserving wildlife and the natural environment, but for any conflict against the very real threat of armed poachers and their highly developed syndicates.
On October 12th the graduates Passing Out Parade was held at the Manyani Academy against the stunning backdrop of Tsavo in the presence of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the DSWT Field Representatives, KWS officials and the proud families of the men who excelled through this gruelling training schedule surpassing all expectations. The graduation ceremony presented the graduates during a faultless drill parade followed by the presentation of awards. The pride of the men during this heart-warming occasion was a joy to see and which was reflected in the following inspiring speeches.
These men will now return to the DSWTs anti-poaching force, patrolling and protecting the greater Tsavo Conservation Area partnering with KWS, utilising the skills and knowledge they have gathered in an effort to curb the poaching epidemic and protect Kenyas wildlife.