PERREAULT Magazine September 2014 - Page 32

Perreault Magazine - 32 -

THE SHELDRICKS

BP: What are the current means used by the Trust for controlling the poaching and the slaughter of the animals?

AS: WE FUND BOOTS ON THE GROUND RUNNING EIGHT ANTIPOACHING TEAMS THAT WORK TOGETHER WITH THE KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE (KWS). THESE MEN PATROL THE NATIONAL PARKS, AND SURROUNDING AREAS AND IT IS THEIR CONSTANT PRESENCE THAT HELPS DETER POACHING ENORMOUSLY. THEY ARREST POACHERS, RESPOND TO ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES AND KEEP THE PARK SAFE. THAT SAID, IT IS A VAST LANDSCAPE SO THIS IS CHALLENGING, AND OF COURSE THE POACHERS ARE CONSTANTLY ADAPTING TOO. WE HAVE THREE AIRCRAFT AND A HELICOPTER WHICH SUPPORT OUR GROUND TEAMS BY AERIAL PATROLLING AND REPORTING ANYTHING UNTOWARD THEY MAY OBSERVE FROM THE AIR. WE RUN FOUR MOBILE VETERINARY UNITS AND A SKY VET WHICH ARE ABLE TO RESPOND WITH TIMELY VETERINARY INTERVENTION SAVING MANY WILD LIVES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. TO DATE OUR MOBILE VETEINRARY UNITS FUNDED BY DSWT WORKING COLLABORATELY WITH THE KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE HAVE SAVED IN EXCESS OF 1100 ELEPHANTS ALONE. THESE ARE ANIMALS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN DOOMED TO DIE FROM POISONED ARROW WOUNDS, SPEARS WOUNDS, BULLET WOUNDS OR WIRE SNARE WOUNDS WITHOUT THE TIMELY INTERVENTION WE WERE ABLE TO OFFER.

WE RUN COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS WHICH INCLUDE BUILDING CLASSROOMS FOR SCHOOLS, DESKS AND SPORTING EQUIPMENT DONATIONS, FIELD TRIPS INTO THE NATIONAL PARKS, MEDICAL CLINICS, ADDRESSING WATER ISSUES BY BUILDING BOREHOLES AND DAMS, EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL FILM SHOWS TO NAME SOME OF SUPPORT FOR THE COMMUNITIES ON THE BOUNDARIES THAT THE TRUST OFFERS EACH YEAR. THROUGH THIS WE ARE ABLE TO ENSURE MUCH GOOD WILL WHICH ULTIMATELY HELPS THE WILDLIFE AND OUR ANTIPOACHING EFFORTS.

WE HAVE OUR GLOBAL iWORRY CAMPAIGN CREATED BY THE TRUST TO RAISE GOBAL AWARENESS ABOUT THE THREAT FACING THE SURVIVAL OF THE SPECIES. THIS CAMPAIGN IS CONTINUING TO GATHER MOMENTUM AND SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. THE iWORRY CAMPAIGN CALLS ON WORLD GOVERNMENTS TO MAKE THE ILLICIT IVORY TRADE AND WILDLIFE CRIIME A PRIOTIRY ISSUE, TO MAKE A FINANCIAL COMMIMENT TO SECURITY ENFORCEMENT AND TO IMPOSE A COMPLETE BAN ON ALL IVORY SALES.

BP:Are the elephants and the rhinos equally poached for their ivory and rhino horn? Which countries are the major consumers of these illegally gained products?

AS: ELEPHANTS ARE POACHED TO YIELD THEIR IVORY WHICH IS CONSIDERED A STATUS SYMBOL IN THE FAR EAST AND USED DECORATIVELY OR FOR RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS – RHINO HORN IS CONSIDERED TO HAVE MEDICINAL QUALITIES ANDTHE DEMAND IS MAINLY FROM THE FAR EASTERN COUNTRIES WITH CHINA AND HER INSATIABLE DEMAND FAST ROBBING AFRICA OF BOTH. AN ESTIMATED 36,000 AFRICAN ELEPHANT ARE DIEING ANNUALLY TODAY CONTINENT WIDE.

BP:Do you feel that the Kenyan government and others in sub-Saharan Africa give the protection of the wildlife a high priority? IS there a consolidated effort for preservation and protection?

AS: THERE IS NO QUESTION MORE CAN AND SHOULD BE DONE, AND WITH THE HUGE DEVELOPMENT BEING UNDERTAKEN IN KENYA THE ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISIM INDUSTRY HAVE TAKEN A BACK SEAT OF LATE CERTAINLY MORE SO THAN IN THE PAST.

Do you feel that the Kenyan government and others in sub-Saharan Africa give the protection of the wildlife a high priority? IS there a consolidated effort for preservation and protection?

THERE IS NO QUESTION MORE CAN AND SHOULD BE DONE, AND WITH THE HUGE DEVELOPMENT BEING UNDERTAKEN IN KENYA THE ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISIM INDUSTRY HAVE TAKEN A BACK SEAT OF LATE CERTAINLY MORE SO THAN IN THE PAST.