This past week at the National Lion & Hyena Strategy Meeting at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Headquarters in Nairobi, KWS formally launched the Response Protocol to Wildlife Poisoning Incidents. Poisoning is a major threat to Kenya’s wildlife, particularly to lions, vultures, hyenas, and other animals that scavenge. This response protocol will help organizations across the country minimize the fatal impacts of poisoning.
Lion Guardians is honored to have played a small role in the development of this critical protocol. In early 2016, we were asked by Nature Kenya, Bird Life International, and the Peregrine Fund to share our knowledge and existing protocols related to poisoning situations; this initial meeting kicked off the process of documenting and developing the now-official national document. As part of the process, in late 2016 we attended a wildlife poisoning response workshop hosted by the Mara Predator Project in the Maasai Mara, along with participants from 32 organizations across Kenya. There, we were exposed to the standardized method, developed by Endangered Wildlife Trust and used across southern Africa, outlining how to deal with wildlife poisoning events.
We then developed a structured training on Response to Poisoning Incidents, which incorporated knowledge from the workshop as well as our years of field experience. After conducting an internal training of all senior management, we provided a knowledge sharing service to our conservation collaborators, Big Life, during which we trained 17 scouts. This year, we will be providing the same service to organizations in Tanzania.
Congratulations to KWS for compiling and adopting this strong protocol, and for bringing so many stakeholders together to unite against the poisoning of wildlife. We believe that a standard and practical response protocol will help reduce the critical threat of poisoning, as well as continue to increase collaboration among all stakeholders. We look forward to continuing to spread the word and helping wherever we can.