Wildlife enforcement personnel from Kenya and Tanzania held their 27th cross-border wildlife security liaison meeting at Morendat Conference Center, Naivasha, Kenya from 9th to 12th August, 2016. The meeting, which was attended by 28 officers, deliberated on wildlife conservation challenges along the Kenya/Tanzania international border. Wildlife agencies represented at the meeting included Kenya Wildlife Service, Tanzania National Parks and Tanzania Wildlife Authority. The County Government of Narok, and Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources of Tanzania were also in attendance.
Kenya and Tanzania share a 770 kilometers international border along which the Tsavo-Mkomazi, Amboseli-Kilimanjaro, Kajiado-Loliodo, Loita Hills-Ngorongoro, and Maasai Mara-Serengeti trans-boundary wildlife ecosystems, among others, are located. In these trans-boundary ecosystems, the national park boundaries double up as the international boundary meaning that wildlife officers also oversee security of the international boundary in their areas. This further underscores the importance of this collaboration to the border control responsibilities of the two countries.
In his remarks during the opening session, the Director of LATF Mr. Bonaventure Ebayi encouraged wildlife enforcement officers to act more swiftly than the poachers and traffickers in order to defeat them. Noting that these criminal elements have become more sophisticated, the Director appealed to the two countries to provide adequate resources in order to match and surpass the capability of wildlife offenders. These observations were echoed by the Chief Guest, who is the Deputy Director responsible for security at KWS Mr. William Singoe, when he pledged Kenya’s support in implementing the resolutions agreed upon during cross-border meetings between the two countries.
LATF is proud to have been closely associated with this cross-border working mechanism through which enforcement personnel from the two countries openly share intelligence, best practices and experiences as well as discuss hot pursuit matters, which have contributed to the realization of very impressive results. Many criminal elements have been arrested, prosecuted and jailed while several trans-national smuggling king-pins have been deported. In terms of recoveries, enforcement officers have posted very impressive outcomes in terms of rescuing live wild animals from traffickers, recovery of trophies, weapons, stolen vehicles, variety of contraband and other illegal commercial goods. Park boundary patrols have contributed immensely towards national security. It is for this reason that the governments of Kenya and Tanzania have consistently supported the cross-border wildlife security meetings over the years.
Cooperative enforcement operations across Kenya and Tanzania remains key to stopping wildlife crime and associated vices in East Africa. This forum has become a model initiative which LATF is propagating in other trans-boundary ecosystems within Africa.