Incentives and Informers Fund
A key component is required: maintaining the motivation and morale of security personnel, who risk their lives in armed contacts with poachers, through cash incentives. As mentioned earlier, APLRS sanctuaries are located in security-risk zones and hence they have employed extra personnel to offer maximum security to rhinos, block any potential intrusions and offer speedy detection and follow-up in case of any threat. APLRS members have agreed on a standard compensation to be rewarded to sanctuaries’ security personnel once they apprehend poachers or recovered firearms targeting rhinos. Also, informers who supply credible information leading to arrest of poachers are also compensated through the same system but channeled through the concerned sanctuary. All rewards have to be thoroughly vetted against set criteria by all members during the quarterly meetings. In summary, the following are the agreed compensation rates (£1 = KSh 145):
- Recovery of firearms related to rhino poaching: KSh 20,000 / £ 138
- Arrest of poachers connected to rhino poaching KSh 20,000 / £ 138
- Informers supplying concrete information leading to recovery of rhino horn: KSh 20,000 / £ 138
- Informers who supply concrete information that leads to the arrest of dealers and / or middlemen of rhino horn: KSh 30,000 / £ 207
To underscore the importance of intelligence gathering, one week’s intelligence is regarded as being worth one month’s patrolling, hence the importance accorded to intelligence / informer networks.
Techniques and procedures for the monitoring and surveillance of rhino in the APLRS areas are already in place and are recognised by KWS. On the ground, security patrol teams comprising between 2-4 men have been assigned specific patrol blocks in each conservancy. The primary duty of the patrol men is to locate all rhinos within their allocated blocks on a daily basis. They monitor the performance of sighted rhinos by collecting important biological data that they either log in pocket-sized note books or send the information to the person who is in charge of security within each conservancy via a two-way radio-communication link. They also gather information relating to poaching threats and the state of the fence line in collaboration with the fencers. Similarly, the security men gather intelligence information relating to threat to rhinos. All this information is then logged onto a standard black rhino database that was established by KWS in 2001 and has recently been upgraded to address the upcoming challenges. The information is later used to produce annual standard status reports.
The security teams are supplied with radio-communications equipment, spare radio batteries and solar chargers, mobile phones to group leaders, uniforms, camping gear and semi-automatic weapons to a few individuals. Areas like Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Ol Jogi have mobile armed teams (Kenya Police Reservist status) of four men each that camp out in the bush and act as an extra back up to the rhino patrol teams. These KPRs have been quite successful recently (July-October 2011) in dealing with rhino poaching incidents and subsistence bushmeat poaching, arresting poachers (in some instances eliminating them) and recovering weapons in Solio Ranch, Ol Pejeta, Lewa and Ol Jogi. The security personnel have therefore acted as a deterrent to potential poachers of rhino and to bushmeat hunters, especially in the last five months of this year. Lewa and ol Pejeta in particular have been spending significant sums on security personnel training by ex-British Special Forces advisors.
In the course of their daily monitoring and security duties, if the security personnel arrest a poacher, they qualify to claim a sum of Kenya Shillings from APLRS intelligence fund kitty as a reward for performance. These rewards are offered in recognition of the considerable threat to the personal safety of the rangers. In the case of recovery of weapons, the security teams claim a similar amount for every weapon recovered from the same kitty. This money is claimed from the APLRS by the rhino sanctuary management on behalf of the said staff during quarterly APLRS meetings held in Nairobi at the KWS headquarters.
The procedure for claiming money from the intelligence fund is democratic and minuted. The claimant has to describe the activities that led to the arrest of a poacher(s) or recovery of weapon(s). All the members then review the application and if the claim is approved, the reward is paid.
Members of the APLRS are also involved in gathering intelligence information on poaching and other insecurity threats and gathering scientific data on rhinos, which is all sent to KWS to produce a standard Annual Status report.