Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) community rangers, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), use geographic information system (GIS) mapping to provide a reliable record of elephant mortalities across the Samburu-Laikipia ecosystem for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species’ Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants and for internal conservancies’ use in management and protection of elephants from poaching. The good news: In 2013, NRT recorded a 22 percent reduction in elephant poaching on conservancy lands as compared with 2012. This is despite the continued demand for ivory and the presence of illicit ivory trafficking networks. However, elephant poaching in Kenya continues to be a serious problem.
USAID, in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), has supported NRT to increase its investment in conservancy security operations, including the further training of rangers and commanders, additional vehicles, and the employment of more rangers. NRT has created a second multi-conservancy rapid response team that works closely with KWS and the Kenya Police. A critical element for diminished poaching is the increased social pressure from conservancy boards and communities to expose criminals engaged in poaching in their midst. Wildlife-based tourism is a major source of revenue for communities and conservancies. Support from USAID and NRT helps conservancies develop long-term agreements with tourism investors and promote tourism in northern Kenya. Conservancies generated over 50 million Kenyan Shillings ($568,850) in 2013.