Uniform and equipment for the rangers of the Mukogodo Forest in Kenya
The Mukogodo Forest is one of the last remaining indigenous forests in Kenya. At approximately 30,189 hectares, it is located in Laikipia County, home to the country’s second-highest density of wildlife and acts as a critical corridor for elephants and countless other species. An incredible landscape, it is made up of many different habitat types, from closed forests to open grasslands. It has faced many threats in the past, but thanks to community conservation initiatives, there is much hope for the future of the Forest.
ILMAMUSI Mukogodo Forest Association is a Community Forest Association (CFA) that pledged to protect, preserve and manage the Forest as described in the Forestry Conservation and Management Act. ILMAMUSI itself is an acronym for the four Maasai community lands (Il Ngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo and Sieku) that surround the Forest and, collectively, they decide how to conserve it. People living in these communities depend on forest products, including firewood, honey, water and herbs. They hope to develop an improved management plan for the Forest to ensure the security of the products they use, which in turn would also help maintain the integrity of the Mukogodo ecosystem.
Unfortunately, the Forest faces many threats, from vegetation loss to land degradation and resource extraction. Therefore, the CFA is scaling up its efforts of afforestation, reforestation and landscape restoration. Some methods they are using involve reseeding through the use of semi-circular bunds (artificially dug semi-circular furrows that trap rainwater), tree growing within different communities and groups, and strengthening the management committee. Last year, to engage those who live near the Forest, the CFA also set up a Walk Wild event, sharing the Forest’s benefits and the importance of protecting it – both for people and the local wildlife.
Like many other protected areas, a critical part of safeguarding this Forest is the rangers. Every day, 12 community rangers patrol the Forest. A recent grant from ForRangers has improved the comfort and welfare of these rangers, helping them to carry out their daily patrols.
The funds have helped purchase a new set of high-quality and durable uniforms and bedrolls, ensuring they are comfortable on patrols and warm at night. The new uniforms have included walking boots, raincoats, trousers, shirts, whistles, socks, belts and much more.
A selection of new items that have been given to rangers, including boots, whistles, jackets and trousers.
Lazaro Lentula, ILMAMUSI CFA Warden, shared:
“The grant has helped improve our work morale. We can dress decently, sleep comfortably in the cold, communicate easily using whistles and conduct patrols even during rain. We are now more motivated and energised than before and we thank ForRangers and Save the Rhino International for supporting the welfare of our rangers”.
Not only will this equipment improve the welfare of ILAMUSI’s rangers, but in turn, this will also help the wider conservation of the Mukogodo Forest, protecting key wildlife species such as buffalo, hyena, lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah and many others. Even during this latest grant period (February-June 2023), fewer cases of human-caused wildlife deaths were recorded.
Some of the rangers are pictured in their new uniforms with their bed rolls (top of page) and out on patrol with the gear (above).
With the existing rangers now more comfortable working in these conditions, the CFA of the Mukogodo Forest can now look to increase the workforce and ensure they have all the necessary equipment in the near future. Importantly, it also means that local communities can continue to obtain the resources they require from the Forest, whilst the wildlife within is better protected. Thank you!