The Mombasa road flows like a black artery through Kenya, and along it infections have set in: networks of people with access to ivory and other wildlife products from surrounding National Parks, and a steady supply of transport to carry it away.
The only way to monitor this trade is through undercover ears, ordinary people living in roadside communities who take an extraordinary step to support what we are doing. On the weekend, one of those informers came to life.
The information started a cascade of events: a flurry of hushed phone calls setting up the supposed deal, a hairy motorbike ride through dense bush to the meeting, a tense moment when the ranger involved thought that his cover was blown, and finally the swooping support from the Kenya Wildlife Service to arrest the poachers.
The result - four men in custody with bail set at about $2000 per person. The evidence - one leopard skin, ten snares and ten arrows, the latter usually coated with lethal poison to kill elephants.
This incident comes to a successful conclusion for Big Life, but day in day out, the black artery continues to flow, all too frequently carrying the body parts of animals killed for profit. With the aid of Big Life’s huge informant network, we will continue to work to staunch that flow.