New equipment for our Volunteer Wildlife Rangers
Some of the village farmers have now formed a Voluntary Rangers team.
Here are some of the wildlife rangers getting the type of equipment they requested to help them keep their neighbours at a distance from their crops and villages at night. These are dangerous neighbours and some can be a threat for their families.
Night is when wildlife from the Serengeti move cross the unmarked border of the national park and into their fields. The elephant, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, often followed by lion and hyena come at any time of the year in the dark crispy cold hours under starlight or in the pouring rain. The rangers work in wet muddy and often very cold conditions. The work is dangerous, an elephant could turn on you and eyeballing a lion or worse still – a pack of hyena can be more than anxiety raising.
The villagers said they needed, gum boots as elephant churn muddy wet fields into mire. A good coat to keep out the cold and an occasional rain. The final bit of kit a powerful torch to dazzle and herd the wildlife back into the park.
Coordinated through Chagga Mzungu, Shukrani, the Chagga Mzungu Community worker, spent time liaising with the village farmers so he could asses and report back the needs. Without torches They find it very difficult to try and turn the larger animals at night, particularly elephant herds.
Often the first sign is the sound of cracking of corn and millet stalks out in the dark fields. When this happens the patrolling rangers form into a team to confront the intruders. Then with the clashing of steel pans, the thump of drums and a piercing whistle. An age-old traditional cacophony suddenly explodes in the dark followed by yelling and half a dozen torch beams lancing into the herd. Sometimes its zebra or eland, but often elephant. Shocked by the suddenness of it the large herbivores turn and run with the village rangers in hot pursuit.
This can happen two to three times a week and in the drought of two years back it happened every night.
The community do not want to kill the animals and sought this help from Chagga Mzungu. Through our active work on the ground and the sponsorship of Rotary Club Darwin North and private sponsors there are now ten voluntary wildlife rangers in the Mbirikilli village equipped with the ability to drive the herds back into the Serengeti. This is a real pragmatic alternative to killing and poaching the wildlife.
Chagga Mzungu – mitigating the conflict between wildlife and people on the Serengeti.