A sharp spike in poaching cases has everyone on high alert as four elephants are killed in one week in Namunyak Conservancy.
Despite the NRT conservancies reducing elephant poaching by 43% since 2012, the continuous threat from organised criminal gangs is never far away. Between the 4th and 10th April 2016, Namunyak Community Conservancy reported that four elephants had been killed, and tusks from one of them had been taken. "This is the first time in over a year we’ve seen this level of poaching in such a short space of time" said NRT's Director of Conservation, Ian Craig. Namunyak rangers also found a giraffe that had been shot and killed, most probably by the elephant poachers for meat.
Namunyak Community Conservancy covers over 970,000 acres. Much of this is mountainous, forested terrain. It is favoured by elephants as they pass from Mt. Kenya into the more northern grazing areas such as Mt. Marsabit and the Ndoto mountain range. Due to its size, Namunyak is divided up into three management units; Naluwuon, Ngilai, and Kalepo. Each unit has its own HQ, management staff, board, rangers and grazing committees, and run independently under the Namunyak Conservancy umbrella.
Rangers in Namunyak receive support from NRT's specialised anti-poaching unit, 9-1. Despite this, the challenges of working in such rugged terrain mean that rangers simply cannot cover all areas of their unit. Working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service, Namunyak has stepped up its anti-poaching patrols and is working with the authorities to continue investigations. At this stage ivory has not been recovered.