Anti-poaching Program

Our anti-poaching program focuses on the conservation of the hirola and elephants. Historically, about 5000 elephants and over 100 black rhinos maintained open grasslands for the hirola in southeastern Kenya, between Tana River and Boni Forest.

These "megaherbivores" were poached out in the late 1970s and early 1980s, transforming grasslands into forests and causing the hirola to decline. However since 2011, elephants have naturally recolonized the area. Eastern Kenya represents one of the very few areas in which elephants are currently expanding to fill their historic range.

We suspect that this is due to an increase in poaching elsewhere within Kenya. The Abdallah and Abduwaq Somalis groups that reside in this region, ascribe to the hirola a mythical status and consider elephants good luck. Consequently, poaching in southeastern Kenya is now low relative to other parts of the country, although incursions from outsiders are on the rise.


Local Abdallah and Abduwaq communities have expressed strong support for heightened elephant conservation, both to restore elephants themselves, and to restore grassland habitats on which hirola and livestock depend. As such we have a team of 30 rangers dedicated to the protection of elephants, hirola, giraffes and other wildlife in the region. Further, our scouts are working with agencies to ensure all security/poaching incidents in the entire range monitored collectively between government and local groups, thereby creating a collaborative approach to security incidents concerning human-livestock-wildlife interactions.