Purity Wamuyu is one of six women rangers working at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. As the first female ranger at Lewa, she began her career at the conservancy as a radio operator 10 years ago. Due to her outstanding performance fuelled by a strong determination to excel, she was promoted to the position of supervisor in 2014. We catch up with Purity briefly to understand her role as we celebrate World Ranger Month 2022.
Purity’s main role as an operator is to relay information on incidents within Lewa and its environs to the rangers in the field for their further action. Some of this information is received from the neighbouring community. She recalls a time when her cousin, who lives in the nearby village of Mutunyi, informed her that some youths were about to kill a leopard that had wandered into the village. She called her cousin and asked to speak with the youth, and was able to persuade them not to harm the animal. She then relayed the information to the Lewa rangers who, upon arrival, confirmed that it was actually a caracal, a wild cat that may be easily confused for a leopard.
The rangers were able to sedate the animal and safely translocate it deep within the conservancy. This is testament to the vital role that Purity and her team play as there have been instances in the past where the rangers have arrived on the scene and found the animal dead or maimed as members of the community have taken matters into their own hands.
Purity recalls numerous occasions when she has received distress calls from the community about problematic elephants. One notorious elephant in the conservancy that has been closely monitored by Purity’s team is Natasha. Natasha is a female elephant responsible for the destruction of property in Lewa and its environs. Members of the neighbouring community have also been victims of her direct attacks. Not long ago, it was decided that Natasha be collared with a neck monitor to enable the rangers monitor and predict her whereabouts.
Thanks to such advanced technology and the effective coordination of the rangers, Purity and the other radio operators in Lewa have been able to significantly reduce the incidence response time. Apart from responding to human-wildlife conflict, Purity’s team is able to relay security attacks as received from the community to the relevant authorities, including the Kenya Police and the Kenya Wildlife Service. This has helped the communities recover stolen livestock as well as mitigate human-wildlife conflict in areas outside Lewa’s borders.
This World Ranger Month we salute Purity and other rangers for their work in the protection of wildlife and the habitat.
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