New airborne fast reaction force to bolster Ol Pejeta security
New security force to protect Ol Pejeta's wildlife
Two KPR team members watch over Sudan, one of the northern white rhinos. These animals are under 24-hour surveillance from KPRs to ensure their total safety. © Brent Stirton
October 2012. It's been more than a year since a semi tame rhino called Max was gunned down on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, but this terrible incident marked a turning point for Ol Pejeta's security forces. In June 2011, recognizing the ever-increasing threat on rhinos, the Government of Kenya allowed Ol Pejeta to receive Kenya Police Reservist (KPR) status changing the way they protect our rhinos on the Conservancy - for the better.
Kenya policy reservists get training
Under the command of the local police chief, 32 Ol Pejeta staff were issued KPR status, which gives them the right to carry automatic firearms, and are they are now the nucleus of what has become an independent department. Working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Police and other government agencies, Ol Pejeta's security department has grown since its inception last year and undergone extensive training.
All this has paid with a reduction in poaching incidents. This year there has been only one attempted poaching which was unsuccessful, unlike last year where five rhinos were poached.
New fast reaction force
In a further effort to curb poaching in the greater Laikipia region, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy has partnered with Space for Giants to support the Kenya Wildlife Service under the command of the Kenya Police, by providing an anti-poaching rapid response team. A team of five Ol Pejeta KPR are on stand-by, ready to respond via helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft or vehicle to any incident of poaching or banditry in the area. In the first two months of operations, a total of eight arrests have been made and six firearms recovered.