23 June 2022
It’s World Ranger Day and we join with supporters across the globe to honour the courageous and dedicated women on the frontline of conservation, working long hours in tough, dangerous conditions to protect threatened wildlife, tackle illegal hunting and stop poachers.
Not least our intrepid new five-person Twiga Team, based in our spiritual homeland of Meru National Park in Kenya, where Elsa the lioness returned to the wild. Twiga is Swahili for giraffe and, after months of expert training from Kenya Wildlife Service, our team is out on patrol removing deadly snares and keeping rare reticulated giraffe safe.
The team includes 28-year-old Jacqueline Ntinyari: “I was born in Meru County in Kanjoo village along the fence line of Meru Park. After school I ventured into small scale farming but, in 2021, I got a job at Born Free as a Saving Meru’s Giants Twiga Eco Scout.
“I carry out de-snaring activities, and monitor elephants and giraffes to help us know their population status and trends, and the threats they face. I became a ranger because I had the passion for conservation. I am very proud of my position because it has given me a chance to conserve and to know that, what men can do, women can also do!
“Every woman can do conservation work if they create a positive mind. Women are very close to nature because they play a livelihood role, which relies upon the stability of the environment around them, and its decline has impacted women disproportionally to men. I thank Born Free for taking me to Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy where I gained enough skills to work.
"As a woman we face a lot in the field, including loneliness, as we don’t live with our families. I love my job so much and will spend the rest of my life protecting animals because, without wildlife, our country is not economically sound. I will live to fight for these animals to live freely, as they have the right to.”
25-year-old Amina Wajua is one of Jacqueline’s colleagues: “I am from Mukothima Ward in Tharaka Nithi county and a college graduate. I come from a community that borders Meru National Park, hence have lived with these animals since my childhood.
“Like Jacqueline, my main responsibility as a community ranger in the Twiga Team is de-snaring activities, as well as elephant and giraffe monitoring. We do foot patrols to remove snares set by poachers to trap animals. I love being close to animals and have a deep passion to conserve wildlife. I am proud to be an Eco Scout because it has helped me to multitask duties and become more flexible to walk long distances and long hours. It was a challenge for me to leave my family behind and go for training, but we need more women to engage in protecting wildlife!”