CS Mutua commissions Game Rangers as Amboseli takeover gains momentum

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua commissioned rangers at the Amboseli National Park on April 5, 2014.  [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua commissioned the first cohort of the Kajiado County game rangers for further training in wildlife conservation and park matters.

The rangers drawn from the Maa Economic Block which encompasses Kajiado, Narok and Samburu counties, were released on Thursday at a community and conservation stakeholders meeting at the Amboseli National Park.

The target is to train 100 rangers on wildlife management and community engagement by October this year, when the park takeover process is completed.

They will also be trained in environmental restoration and climate change dynamics.

The commissioning of the rangers is part of the activities in the transition process of the Amboseli National Park to the County Government of Kajiado sanctioned by President William Ruto last year.

Dr Mutua declared that the takeover process was unstoppable and that so far it has been seamless.

“When you see me here, you see the President. Everyone relevant in the process is right inside the process because this is a presidential directive,” said Dr Mutua.

Dr Mutua assured stakeholders that the Parastatal had no option other than fast-tracking the process.

“They are just engaged elsewhere. I am aware of where the top management and we are on the same change. My principle is to move things fast. We are on course,” said Dr Mutua.

A section of the Game Rangers that was commissioned at Amboseli National Park by Tourism CS Alred Mutua. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

This was a response to community concerns raised by Olgulului-Olarashi group ranch Chairman Daniel Leturesh that the Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS)  was sabotaging the transition process.

Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said the park takeover process will be supported by the Maa community as it was a resolution of one of Kenya's historical injustices.

“We are ready to sacrifice anything we have to ensure we get Amboseli. Those who have plotted to delay the process have nowhere to hide. We are glad the National Government has demonstrated a lot of commitment and goodwill in this process," said Lenku.

He also announced that eleven group ranches in the Amboseli Ecosystem that stretched up to the Kenyan-Tanzanian border had committed to offer one million acres for conservation purposes.

“Amboseli is only 80,000 acres. The majority of the animals are living in private land and we have decided to increase the conservation area because the wildlife numbers are increasing incredibly. We want to take the conservation story to the people living here and are already benefiting from wildlife,” said Lenku.

Accompanied by Senator Samuel Seki and County Assembly Majority Leader, John Loisa, the Governor acknowledged the support and cooperation that the transition was getting from both the Senate and the County Assembly. 

“We are working together because this is a historical fete. We are ready to oversight, fast track and legislate on anything needed to hasten the process,” said Senator Seki.

The Amboseli takeover process will see the County gain more than Sh1.6 billion in own source revenue every year.

Last month KWS Director General Erustus Kanga revealed that Sh1.4 billion had been collected only three months to the end of the Financial Year.

He added that this fete had been achieved while only 10 per cent of the animals inhabiting the Amboseli ecosystem were actually inside the National Park.