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West Kilimanjaro Conservation Project       

an update from the kilimanjaro fieldman

JULY 2009
FieldmenStationed on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, the West Kilimanjaro Conservation Project has been hugely successful at kerbing poaching and educating local communities. With fieldmen throughout each sub-village, this remarkable group maintain regular anti-poaching patrols which have dramatically increased elephant survival in the region.
The fieldmen engage in regular training and methodology workshops to maintain and enhance their skills. One of the more important trips in the last year was a 3 day educational trip to the greater Amboseli area, where they were guests of a PhD project assessing strategies to reduce farmer-wildlife conflict.

On this trip the fieldmen passed through the entire West Kilimanjaro Conservation Project area, crossed into Kenya and travelled around the outside of Amboseli National Park via a number of small villages and camps. They slept at the edge of an agricultural area on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and completed a number of short patrols to assess wildlife incursions into the crop land. A visit to the area's main water source and another longer patrol in the bush below the gardens revealed signs of plenty of wildlife. After a friendly farewell, the fieldmen passed through the main town of the area, Loitokitok, and into the main gate of Amboseli. There were introductions and discussions with the Acting Senior Warden and an exciting game drive through the park before the fieldmen separately made their way back to their homes from Namanga. The trip was a great success and helped promote understanding between pastoralists and agriculturalists around Kilimanjaro.

An integral part of the success of the West Kilimanjaro Conservation Project is their regular environmental monitoring and data analyses of key species such as elephants, cheetahs, buffalo, lions and wild dogs. Recent surveys have revealed that populations of elephants and other key species have remained constant, with numbers of giraffe continuing to climb to an all-time high, leopards staying close to record levels, and the lion population remaining healthy. As with the previous two years, the zebras and all species of antelopes are also at near record levels.

The overall consistency of key species observations during the last year has shown that poaching is being controlled and the environment is healthy. These results are testament to the success and dedication of the project.

Humane Society International, in cooperation with the Born Free Foundation, are proud to support for the work of the Kilimanjaro Fieldmen. HSI funds have been used to provide high quality walking boots and equipment to the Fieldmen to facilitate their patrols. The boots are designed to leave highly visible walking prints to show the areas are patrolled and act as a poaching impediment.

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