180729 Ann

A ranger’s contact with the outside world can be tenuous. Cell phone reception is poor or non-existent, and often the only connection is a small black box: the radio. If things go wrong, it’s a lifeline.

On the other side of the connection sits Ann Taraiya, one of four Big Life radio operators. Ann is a new and very welcome addition to Big Life, having joined earlier this year. She is from Eselengei, an area in the far north of the Amboseli ecosystem where Big Life has recently established a permanent presence thanks to funding from USAID Kenya and East Africa.

After completing a degree in hospitality, Ann worked as a receptionist elsewhere in Kenya, but her father worked in conservation and Ann had always wanted to do the same. She also wanted to return home, and this job presented the perfect opportunity to accomplish both of those things.

But her work won’t be easy; being a focal point for 36 Big Life ranger units is at times a bit like being an air traffic controller. There is someone at the radio 24 hours a day, and two people at times when the rangers are on patrol. Digital radio technology allows Ann and the other operators to track the ranger teams on a screen in real-time, and direct them when emergencies happen.

Big Life’s successes are all thanks to having an excellent team, and we’re very happy to have a woman like Ann on ours. You too can play a critical role by joining the Big Life ranger club, our monthly giving program. Because without the support necessary to keep the rangers in the field, our radio room would be a very quiet place.