Project - Ranger Stations in Murchison Falls

Ranger Stations in Murchison Falls
elephantconservation.org

For elephants, the fight for species survival is centered on the ability to peacefully co-exist with humans. Whether it is the threat of poaching in Africa, human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Asian range countries, or habitat loss everywhere, the challenges to elephants are intertwined with humans and therefore the solutions must be as well.

Over the last ten years, IEF has supported the construction of eight ranger stations in Murchison Falls Conservation Area in an attempt to take back the park from poachers. Working with Michael Keigwin of the Uganda Conservation Foundation and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the construction of many ranger stations in both MFCA and Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). These stations house armed and trained rangers placing them in critical locations. Where ranger stations have been established, wildlife is returning to the area demonstrating the success of the project. There is need to build additional stations to replace mud huts currently housing rangers at some of the sites, and in the heart of poaching country where there is no ranger presence at all. One of the most compelling aspects of establishing these stations is the ranger's ability to find and remove snares and leg hold traps which are decimating many animal populations such as lions and antelope, as well as maiming and killing animals such as elephants and endangered Rothschild's giraffe.

Collaboration will foster a spirit of ownership in the communities and create a vested interest in saving elephants. This connection with those who share their land with elephants can help eliminate poaching, catch wildlife traffickers, improve natural resource management, develop sensible land-use strategies, build capacity of elephant conservation, develop animal and habitat friendly alternative sources of income such as eco-tourism, create permanent hubs of anti-poaching rangers in the core areas, protect the last surviving "hundred pounder" tuskers (elephant bulls bearing ivory weighing over 100 lbs. per side) by keeping watch on these animals on a consistent basis.

The number of snares and traps collected by rangers in just one year can fill a 40' x 60' room and new snares are added by poachers to unguarded park lands daily. Since the new ranger stations are constructed of cement and concrete block, the confiscated snares and leg hold traps are used in the construction of the stations as addition to rebar as the structural element to carry the tension in the reinforced concrete. This prevents the snares and traps from ever being used again and solves the problem of how to permanently destroy these hideous devices.

With our help a new ranger station will be built in the Got Lavor area in participation with the International Elephant Foundation General Operations, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Vienna Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, Africans Safari and the Pittsburgh Zoo.