Two years into a global pandemic and nature has thrown us another curveball here in East Africa: severe drought. As conditions worsen, Big Life’s rangers are staying busy mitigating conflict and supporting the local community.
So far in 2022, Big Life’s 352 rangers have patrolled 318,832km (198,113 mi) by foot and vehicle and confiscated over 281 kg of ivory, removing it from the illegal wildlife trade. Big Life rangers also made 171 arrests in 76 incidents for crimes that include bushmeat poaching, wildlife trafficking, trophy possession, and habitat destruction.
More good news: we have not had a single elephant or rhino poached this year, a trend we are doing our best to continue. Nor have we lost any lions to retaliation from herders, despite hundreds of livestock being killed. Our Predator Compensation Fund continues to be a success, and will become more critical as conflict increases with the dry conditions.
Conflict always increases when it’s dry as resources become scarce. In Q1, Big Life rangers prevented 42 crop-raids by hungry elephants, a number which jumped to 77 in Q2. There were also 11 incidents of elephant related damage to water pipes and boma destruction, but even so, zero retaliatory elephant hunts have been attempted.
Although it will be several months before we have any chance at rain, our rangers will remain vigilant and we will do our best to support the community through this challenging time, both people and wildlife alike. But it will be a tough road ahead as both animals and people find themselves in desperate situations.
Thank you to our wonderful partners and supporters for making our work protecting the wildlife and wild lands of East Africa possible.