NAIROBI, KENYA (December 2, 2020) — African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) this morning, handed over equipment worth over KES 3.7 million to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to go toward Lake Nakuru National Park’s anti-poaching tracker unit. Earlier this year, AWF assisted KWS to build kennels and an office store, install water tanks and solar panels for the anti-poaching canine unit at the Lake Nakuru National Park. The equipment handed over today including computers, printer GPS sets, kongs and leashes, tents, tables, and chairs among others will support KWS in protecting rhino and wildlife in the park. Other items donated by AWF are face masks for protection against COVID-19, desert storm boots, and tents for the rangers.

This handover is part of AWF’s emergency response plan which was developed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic for the hardest-hit areas where AWF operates. Through the emergency response, AWF has been able to deliver food rations, personal protective equipment (PPE), fuel for field vehicles, and critical livelihood support for wildlife rangers and communities to continue patrols in poaching hotspots across Africa.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, KWS Director General Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru thanked AWF for its continued support of KWS programs. “We remain grateful to AWF for their unwavering support for wildlife and habitat conservation. We are particularly thankful for the support of our canine unit, which is critical in tracking wildlife traffickers and poachers. It is making a huge difference in the fight against illegal killing of our wildlife,” he said.

AWF Vice President for Species Conservation and Science, Dr. Philip Muruthi said that AWF’s mission is to ensure wildlife and wildlands thrive in modern Africa and, this we must accomplish in spite of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We are dedicated to ensuring that conservation work continues and the gains already made are not eroded. This handover is a testament to AWF’s longstanding commitment partnership with KWS. Together we shall sustain the current positive growth trend of Kenya’s rhino and elephants, and recover and stabilize declining populations of wildlife. The tracking dog program definitely keeps perpetrators at bay, both as a deterrent and via direct arrests, ensuring that our wildlife thrives especially at such a time when resources are limited on many fronts. AWF is convinced that wildlife and nature conservation overall is key to Africa’s sustainable development and human well-being.

 The handover ceremony comes just a few days after the AWF COVID-19 response webinar which saw the organization announce the results of how it has allocated directly USD $1,551,103 raised to date. The online webinar featured first-hand testimonials from landscape managers and ecologists in the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia (including an update on the armed conflict and civil unrest in the Tigray Region), the Tsavo-Mkomazi Landscape in Kenya, the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon, and the Mid-Zambezi Landscape, Zimbabwe.

About AWF’s COVID-19 Emergency Response

The AWF COVID-19 Emergency Response seeks to address urgent needs, including pain points of protected area authorities, conservancies, local institutions, and communities. The program supports communities in ways that strengthen coping mechanisms to the crisis and look to save the critical functions of protected areas, while also safeguarding the livelihoods of communities. AWF’s overarching goals are to support protected area authorities; support communities engaged in wildlife and tourism; and support communities outside wildlife and tourism industries.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science, and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

MEDIA CONTACT: For interviews about the handover ceremony and AWF’s COVID-19 Response Fund; contact Wambui Odhiambo of AWF at wodhiambo@awf.org on +254 728 886987 or Paul Jinaro of KWS at pjinaro@kws.go.ke on +254 722 860119.