“It’s very bad when the same people that you are working with [in the community], telling them the importance of wild animals, and you find them killing those wild animals,” says Ruth Sikeita, one of the rangers on the scene.
Papatiti says that while bushmeat poaching incidents have increased over time, the killing of elephants for ivory has declined. He estimates that between three to five elephants were poached on community lands annually from when the OCWR was established in 2010 until IFAW began to support the unit in 2018, when only one elephant was lost. No more elephants have been killed on the Group Ranch since.
“I attribute the success to dedication from rangers and how we built a very good relationship with the community, which is our source of intel,” explains Papatiti.