Turning Poachers into Gamekeepers
Guns and boots on the ground are undoubtedly important in the battle against poaching, but wild elephants use areas too large for rangers to effectively patrol. It is crucial therefore, for locals to be defenders of wildlife, and reap the benefits of their own resources.
STE’s community outreach program was set up at a time when communities had ex-communicated many men for criminal activities, but were unable to handle them when they were on the outside. Poaching was rampant, and many unemployed youth opted for quick gains without counting the cost.
Jerenimo Leperei, STE’s Community Outreach Officer, had a surprise when put together STE’s first ever anti-poaching campaign rally. As he had planned, the mood of the community was charged to save elephants when a notorious local outlaw and poacher named Koyaso took the microphone. Rather than derailing the meeting, however, he confessed to having been deeply embedded in the merciless crime of poaching, and discouraged all at the meeting from ever engaging in it. Poaching had never brought him any peace, or even any money, he said, and after more than a decade of that life, poaching had brought him nothing but sleepless nights. The meeting was stunned to silence as he went on, saying his new life of fighting the crime with the national wildlife authority had purpose, and he was now bringing poachers to book.
With Koyaso’s new-found passion, and Jerenimo’s know-how, STE has managed to bring nine poachers from the area surrounding Samburu National Reserve to the table, all of whom renounced their life of crime and vowed to help spread the word that poaching was not worth the costs. By bringing them in from the cold, we return them to the watchful eyes of the community. Following this success, local MPs, governors, county representatives and wardens have all joined the discussion, meeting to ensure that the gains made are long-lasting both for the elephants and for the communities that depend on the landscape they shape.
We continue to roll out the rallies in different regions of Samburu, with the help of the Bodhi Tree Foundation, to bring more young men to reap the benefits of their rich heritage, and help uplift the entire community.
The fate of elephants is in the balance. The record price of ivory has attracted organised crime, rebel militias and even terrorist groups, fuelling a surge of poaching across the continent. Without the outstanding support and generosity of our donors, STE would not be able to continue securing a future for the elephants. We urgently need your support, while there is still time. You can be of vital assistance by donating to either our core funds or to any of our projects.
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How You Can Help
Over the last years our world-leading conservation efforts have been possible thanks to the dedication and generosity of loyal supporters. To join them you can donate in a number of ways:
Elephants are fast disappearing from the wild. Without urgent, international action they could be gone within a generation. The Elephant Crisis Fund provides rapid, catalytic support for the most effective projects designed to stop the killing, thwart traffickers and end the demand for ivory. 100% of all donations reach the field.
Save the Elephants is funded almost entirely by private donations. It is only through the generous support of donors that we are able to continue our important elephant conservation work. We rely entirely on funds, grants and donations from around the world, so thank you for helping us to secure a future for these fascinating creatures.