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U.S. Helps Boost Anti-poaching Efforts In Kenya

By Fabian Mangera and Stephen Ingati ISIOLO, Kenya, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government on Sunday donated two security patrol vehicles to community conservancies in northern Kenya to boost anti-poaching efforts by protecting elephants whose numbers have dwindled in the recent past.

Kareen Freeman, Kenya mission director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), also pledged financial assistance and expertise in order to combat the poaching challenges in northern Kenya.

We need to sustain this effort and support community conservation by working together and putting in place enabling environment to curb poaching in the country,” Freeman said in Isiolo after handing over the vehicles to the community conservancies in Kalama, under the Northern Rangeland Trust.

The Northern Rangeland Trust is behind the formation of community ranches for conservation purposes in the region.

Freeman reiterated that the American people remain committed to supporting those whose livelihoods and investments depend on wildlife and conservation through protecting the animals.

The overall theme of my visit to the north has been resilience and we know that Kenyans are creative and innovative people and I have enjoyed seeing some community driven solutions” she said.

She hailed the Northern Range Land Trust for its work in community conservancies, adding that their initiative had improved the lives and livelihoods of more than 280,000 people.

The Northern Rangelands Trust helps communities to speak with a unified voice, to better manage livestock and wildlife in harmony and to reap the benefits of tourism that come with strong stewardship of the environment.

The conservancies’ umbrella body has trained and equipped 620 community rangers to provide security for people and wildlife in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service and the local police administration.

Conservancy Chief Manager Tom Lalampa said the main objective was to ensure a safe environment that is hospitable to wildlife through better conservancy approach.

The conservancy has attracted millions of dollars of private sector eco-tourism investments in these communities for the last 15 years.

Lalampa, who recently won a UN award for his effort in protecting the wildlife, said unique cultural change is taking root in the conservancy areas.

He said pastoralist women and girls are now elected as chairpersons of conservancy boards, successfully mediating peace among traditional multiethnic tribes that were previously at war with each other.

In many conservancies, women comprise more than 30 percent of board membership and young women are gaining employment as community rangers and as accountants, managers, and chefs in the thriving tourism operations in the conservancies,” said Lalampa.

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