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Game rangers involved in protecting and conserving Eburru forest Nakuru County match through the forest to commemorate the World Rangers Day. Kenya Forest Services (KFS) has expressed its concern over the high number of forest rangers been killed and attacked by poachers. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Over one hundred rangers have been maimed by poachers and illegal loggers in the last five years while guarding various forests across the country.

The revelation comes at a time Kenya Forest Services (KFS) has expressed its concern over the low number of rangers in the country against a rising forest cover.

According to the organisation, in the past years, five rangers had been killed while another 106 had been seriously injured by the poachers with 22 cases reported in the last one year.

According to Chief Conservator of Forests, Julius Kamau, increasing pressure on forest resources had put strain on the life and times of rangers.

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Speaking in Eburru forest after marking World Rangers Day, Kamau noted that the rangers protected newly gazetted forest areas and critical installations and equipment of the Service.

“A single Forest Ranger protects on average 1,045 hectares both day and night as opposed to world recommended 400 hectares per Ranger when motorized,” he said.

He noted that the group braved the extreme terrain and harsh weather conditions in the wild which at times left them with lifelong health complications.

“They face life-threatening situations in their line of duty sometimes being attacked by wild animals or assaulted if not killed by illegal loggers or poachers,” he said.

He noted that protecting 2.5m hectares of public forests, including other security operations with a lean number was an uphill task.

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“These officers strive to ensure that forests and allied resources are safeguarded and protected for the benefit of the present and future generations,” he said.

On his part, Joseph Mutongu from Rhino Ark was full of praise for the rangers as their efforts have seen logging and poaching in Eburru forest reduced.

He added that the organisation and other stakeholders could continue to support the rangers who play a critical role in conserving the environment.

“Eburu forest is home to the rare Bongo species which is under threat and the efforts by these rangers have stopped poachers from killing the animal,” he said.

A community outreach officer Peter Munene noted that they faced many challenges in their operations with illegal loggers been the most dangerous.

SEE ALSO: State targets to plant 470m trees by 2022

“This forest has a lot of benefit to area residents and we are working closely with them to protect is from charcoal burners and poachers,” he said.

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