The average monthly wage in Kenya is Ksh. 6,500 shillings, around US$ 65. For an average family in the agricultural sector however, it's more like US$42, according to a report by the FAO. For most farming families around Ol Pejeta, making ends meet is a daily struggle. Contrast this with the price of rhino horn (which was about $65,000 a kilogram in 2012) and elephant ivory (US$2,100 a kilogram in 2014) - and it's not difficult to see why poaching is a dark temptation for some.
The impacts of poaching on wildlife is well documented, but the impact it has on families and communities is not. Poaching gangs are often linked to other criminal activity in towns and villages, breeding an overall sense of insecurity wherever they operate. That is why Ol Pejeta is conducting a series of community outreach meetings in five local areas where the vice is prevalent to try and inspire community action against poaching.
One of the key starting blocks in these meetings is to educate a largely uninformed audience about wildlife, and the opportunities conservation offers them. This is a segue into discussing the negative impacts of poaching, and introducing the support and incentives Ol Pejeta and partners have in place for people to provide anonymous intelligence.
The outreach events will continue in to December, and involve close collaboration with local authorities.