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Rangers helping Rangers – from South Australia to Kenya

Rangers in Kenya with donated supplies from South Australian Rangers, Joseph Kotoke pictured centre.

South Australian Ranger Association member and Ranger in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region, Genki Kondo, recently returned to his homeland of Kenya, bringing with him donations of important field equipment and first aid supplies for Rangers protecting East African wildlife from poaching.

Genki returned to Kenya from South Australia after 13.5 years of absence, excited to spend time where he began his career in environmental conservation, both volunteering and working for the Kenya Wildlife Service. Genki was connected with Joseph Kotoke, Maasai Ranger and Operations Commander of the Big Life Foundation in Kenya, with assistance from former SARA President Derek Snowball, who got to know Joseph when he visited South Australia on a Thin Green Line Foundation ‘Ranger to Ranger’ documentary tour in 2018.

Sean Wilmore (TGL Foundation), Joseph Kotoke (Big Life Foundation) and Derek Snowball (former SARA President) in South Australia in 2018.

The Big Life Foundation is an organisation focussed on protecting over 1.6 Million acres of the Amboseli - Tsavo - Kilimanjaro ecosystem. It is the first organisation in East Africa with coordinated anti-poaching systems operating on both sides of the Kenya - Tanzania border. It achieves this through a community based collaborative approach, hiring hundreds of local Maasai rangers. The Maasai are the indigenous people of this landscape and have maintained a very close connection with this land pre-dating written history. Their unbroken knowledge and passion for their landscape makes them unparalleled wildlife defenders in the frontlines of East African conservation.

Joseph was an important link in ensuring the donations from SARA members would be channeled to where they would be most valuable. Amongst the donations provided were backpacks and water bladders organised by Derek Snowball, first aid supplies organised by the Fleurieu District Rangers, and financial donations from Genki and Fleurieu Ranger Hilary Perkins to purchase portable survival kits.

Donations taken to Kenya by South Australian Ranger Association member and Ranger Genki Kondo

While Genki was travelling in Amboseli, he was connected with a trusted community elder to keep the donations safe before Joseph returned from a training course to distribute the gear into the hands of the local ranger force. Upon his return Joseph sent Genki and SARA a message of thanks, ‘I have received the Rangers gear and we say thank you so much. We have distributed it to our mobile patrol teams. The First Aid supplies are so helpful and all will be distributed to all 36 Rangers’ outposts. On behalf of all my Rangers, I say Asante Sana (Thank you so much), God Bless You.’

Genki is proud to be a part of the SARA membership and credits the association in facilitating Rangers helping other Rangers, ‘by utilising my connections formed through the SARA network I was able to organise this field gear to get to where I knew it would be of great value to East African Rangers’.

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