The track is fresh. You’re moving through the thick bush, as quickly and quietly as you can. Thorns catch on your uniform, a bird flushes close by, brief panic. And then, out of the dense foliage, a man lunges at you with a panga…
What happens next? The outcome will be decided by the desperation of the poacher, and the skill and training of the ranger chasing him.
It has been estimated that there are up to 680,000 firearms circulating in civilian hands across Kenya. A poacher can get his hands on an AK-47 for roughly $450, and earn up to $2500 for a dead elephant. The return on investment is huge. And the consequences of being caught may be worth killing to avoid.
This is not a game, but a war. And our rangers need to be fighting with the upper hand. Through support from The Thin Green Line Foundation, and the African Wildlife Foundation, right now we have 30 Big Life rangers sweating their way through the first of four 1-month long training courses.
The daily program is action-packed with discipline drills and lessons around strategy. The end result will be teams of fitter, more knowledgeable, and better-prepared rangers.
On average about 100 rangers die each year protecting wildlife across the planet, that’s almost one life lost every three days. Through this training, we hope to decrease the chances that one of our Big Life rangers will ever add to this statistic…
Jeremy Goss, Big Life Kenya