Communities Rally for Anti-poaching Campaign
The day was cold and grey, with the steady rain turning the roads into a quagmire as the marchers gathered.
Determined, splashes of colour against the grey sky and brown mud in their kangas; visually arresting Maasai in full regalia, clutching signs, this gathering of 165 people came together for one reason. With this number of people present, this Anti-Poaching educational rally was the largest community yet to protest against profligate poaching in Kenya.
Participants included, Kenyans Against Poaching (KUAPO), Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW),AMARA, Ziwani Voyager Hotel, Mbulia Community Rangers, Kimalla Red Cross Youth group, Chumvini youth group Tsavo Pride rangers and other groups from the communities surrounding Taveta including Kasaani and Kidong.
Full of high spirits and a conviction of the urgency of our cause, we set off up the road, holding our handmade signs high, chanting slogans and singing our anti-poaching songs, some of them prepared at Kasaani with the help of GVI volunteers the week before.
The route took us several kilometres up the road, past the KWS office, where a meeting with the Warden promised incentives to the communities to turn in information on poachers, trophies and snare locations. Onwards, onwards to the Taveta marketplace, a bustling mix of traders from Tanzania and the local areas.
In full view of the marketplace we paused; ex-poachers stood up to speak – one had quit poaching only the month before, and to the amazement of his fellow Kenyans and Tanzanians alike, spoke of the newfound sense of freedom he felt now that he was no longer living in constant fear.
The main message: Stop poaching now, before it is too late. Join us in our stance, and welcome.
Chloe Corne, Marine field staff
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