I’m sure I speak for us all when I say “good riddance” to 2020. It was a year filled with unimaginable challenges. And if it was hard for us, then I’m sure it was equally difficult for our supporters around the world. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that we were able to keep our rangers in the field and our core operations running at a time when so many could not. It would not have been possible without our supporters and partners.
We had some tremendous successes in spite of the odds. Reviewing our numbers, I have to pinch myself: it’s another year with ZERO elephants and ZERO rhinos poached in our area of operation. These 10 plus years building up our anti-poaching programs with our community rangers have really paid off.
Our rangers excel at being nimble and adapting to rapidly changing conditions. In the 4th quarter, they also arrested 10 suspects for bushmeat poaching and 26 for trophy possession, removed 95 snares, prevented 25 crop-raids by elephants, prevented 4 lions hunts with our partners, and responded to 23 bushfires.
But our rangers aren’t the only ones who had to make dramatic changes to their operations on account of COVID-19. Our community programs also took a huge hit. Since it wasn’t safe for people to gather at clinics, we instead organized back-pack nurses to provide remote assistance. And our community health volunteers were able to safely conduct household visits, reaching more than 21,000 people with information about both COVID prevention and family planning. Schools are also starting to reopen, which is so critical for the student’s development and the health of the community overall.
New challenges await us of course, especially as we fight to keep habitat safe from development for wildlife and livestock to continue to use. We’ll keep you posted as everything unfolds.
In the meantime, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for seeing us through 2020.
Director of Operations in Kenya and Co-Founder