Help for wildlife heroes

Charity supports the families of departed rangers

Soldier2A Berlin-based nature conservation NGO has started a fund to financially support the dependents of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers who are killed or injured while on duty. The fund, with an initial endowment of E50,000 (about Ksh5.5 million), follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the International Foundation for Nature (NABU) and KWS, under which NABU will grant E10,000 (Ksh1.1 million) annually for the next five years to assist the children of departed wildlife heroes to pursue their education. KWS and NABU are seeking the support of lovers of nature globally to contribute and grow the fund. So far, 61 rangers’ names have been inscribed on the heroes’ monument at KWS headquarters, with four new ones added since last year. Mr Werner Shroeder from NABU noted that it wasn’t possible to compensate the sacrifices made by rangers and their families but it was a beginning.

“The payment is in recognition of the courageous commitment to nature and wildlife,” Mr Werner said, adding that although NABU was unable to undo or reduce the loss or injury to wildlife defenders’ families, “…the work of rangers in Africa is very highly appreciated in Germany and Europe in general. Nature lovers appreciate the work of rangers very much because people understand that rangers in Africa risk their lives for all of us.”

NABU is the biggest and oldest conservation organisation in Germany, started in 1899. The organisation implements projects involving the protection of species and habitats, ecotourism and environmental education in Africa, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It supports income-generating activities to help local communities not to get involved in poaching or encroaching into protected areas.