WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
With some of the most dramatic landscapes in Kenya, the Tsavo National Park is home to some of Kenya’s most impressive wildlife. Kenya’s largest national park is split into two regions, East and West, and forms a key wildlife corridor stretching from the Shimba Hills near Mombasa through Tsavo West, Aboseli and the Maasai Mara and across into the Tanzanian Serengeti. This corridor is hugely important for the migration of big game and many animal populations travel along it every year. However, to the numerous farming communities living adjacent to these protected areas, animals such as elephants and rhinos are often a destructive presence on their land, trampling precious crops and threatening their livelihoods. There can often be a great deal of human wildlife conflict as a result, meaning that any conservation initiative needs fully to engage with the local community to be truly sustainable.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
On the Frontier-Kenya Wildlife Conservation project you will undertake a number of roles and responsibilities, helping out with the day to day running of the reserve and contributing to the conservation effort and the education of the local community. Your duties will depend on the needs of the project at the time of your visit, the animals and any ad hoc tasks which the rangers feel are necessary. You may have the opportunity to take part in the following activities.
You will assist rangers with their day to day duties which are crucial to the conservation of the impressive local wildlife. You may assist rangers on patrol, involving the removal of any traps or man-made objects which may pose a threat to wildlife. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about these mighty beasts in their natural habitat and gain practical experience in tracking and animal behaviour. These patrols also help to identify any sick animals within the reserve, enabling the field staff to respond quickly and effectively to any identified cases. Regular patrols also help to ward off potential poachers.
Another important task for the rangers is to assess the migrant and resident bird populations in the reserve in order to focus conservation efforts. Should you have the chance to participate in this vital work, you will learn how to identify over 200 different bird species and their characteristic behaviours. Birds of prey are good barometers of ecosystem health and by understanding their ecology and behaviour, we can determine the health of their habitats. Vultures in particular are critical in recycling nutrients to keep this ecosystem clean, highlighting the importance of monitoring this threatened species.
You may also have the opportunity to participate in environmental awareness raising campaigns with local communities to promote awareness of the need for increased conservation efforts within their local area. Community education primarily takes place in schools and involves showing films and helping to set up local wildlife projects and capacity building initiatives. This is a great chance to use your creativity to develop engaging and exciting teaching methods to help portray the conservation message to local children. Depending on how confident you feel, you may even be able to teach your own lesson!
Educating the local community about how introducing sustainable initiatives to protect their natural resources can have a positive impact upon tourism, which in turn leads to more jobs and greater income for the local economy. This provides the incentive needed to gain the support of the local community to promote conservation work and help change attitudes to indigenous wildlife.
You will typically work Monday to Friday and have your weekends free to explore the country's other exciting possibilities.