In early September, the Big Life Foundation team received reports of men entering Kenya’s Chyulu Hills National Park. This immediately set alarm bells ringing – the wild and inaccessible parts of Chyulu Hills are home to a small genetically unique population of Eastern black rhino, and are a prime target for rhino poachers.
Upon receiving the alert, the Big Life Foundation team rushed their rapid response unit to the area, where they joined the Big Life Foundation and Kenya Wildlife (KWS) ranger teams already on the ground.
The units spread out, setting ambushes and combing likely areas for signs of poachers. This continued for four days. The habitat of the Chyulu Hills contains thick dense bush making it incredibly challenging to detect poachers. The teams began to wonder if the poachers were still there.
And then it happened. The poachers were moving out of the park, unsuccessful in their mission to kill a rhino, and possibly aware of the manhunt. The three men walked straight into a KWS ambush. The poachers, armed with AK-47s, defied orders to surrender, and there was an exchange of fire in which all three were killed.
According to Jeremy Goss of Big Life
While one is never happy to report on death, we are glad that it was not a rhino on the receiving end of the bullets this time. These poachers were willing to kill, rhinos and people, to achieve their goal. Thanks to the well-coordinated action of the Big Life and KWS rangers, and particularly KWS in the final situation, they were unable to do either.