An additional 2,664 rangers will Wednesday be joining the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to enhance forest protection and conservation efforts.
This is the largest-ever cohort to graduate Wednesday morning at the Forest Law Enforcement Academy hosted at NYS Gilgil, Nakuru. President William Ruto will preside over the ceremony.
Speaking Tuesday night during an interview with KBC senior environment reporter, Yusuf Farah, KFS Ag. Commandant David Chege said the new officers will fill the shortage that has been in the service for years.
“ The numbers have been very low with a ratio of 1 ranger to 1200 hectares of forest land which is far below the international recommended ratio of 1:400. The officers will bring the numbers down to a ratio of 1:513,” he said.
The new team is mainly tasked with implementing the government’s plan to increase the country’s forest cover by 30 percent by 2032, up from the current 12.13 percent.
Additionally, Chege explained the rangers had received top-notch training to deal with difficult working environments while assuring that KFS had put in place elaborate measures to improve their welfare.
“Rangers face life-threatening situations posed by fires and wildlife among other dangers, as such an advanced insurance cover has been put in place to cater for them in case of any injuries. We will also provide adequate housing” he said.
The recruits have undergone training in several forest law enforcement approaches including a human-rights-based approach to law enforcement, law and policy development and implementation, battle tactics, KFS procedures, and criminal justice system procedures among others.
They will be deployed immediately to various parts of the country.
“The recruits are now ready to serve, the Service is keen to ensure that they use their acquired skills for the benefit of forests and the people who depend on them. I appeal to them to make a difference and not to fall into any temptation” he said.