image courtesy of National Geographic News

A consortium of concerned conservation bodies in Kenya has organised a workshop to train participants on how to combat illegal poisoning of wildlife.

The workshop will be held on 15 and 16 November 2016 in the Masai Mara game reserve.

As nature’s most important clean-up crew, vultures are the hardest hit by indiscriminate poisoning, which typically targets predators such as lions and hyenas.

In December 2015, there was an international outcry in response to the poisoning of the Mara’s Marsh Pride lions. The organisations have identified the need for a consistent and robust approach to dealing with all poisoned species.

The two-day workshop has been developed with the aim of limiting the impact of individual poisoning through informed and rapid response.

Thirty-seven participants representing 30 local conservation partners will convene at Ilkeliani Camp, bordering the Masai Mara for the training led by Andre Botha, a leading South African expert on wildlife poisoning.

It will focus on identifying the signs and symptoms of wildlife poisoning, prompt reporting, incident scene treatment, collection of reliable information and sterilizing the scene to prevent further poisoning.

The workshop is the result of an ongoing collaboration between BirdLife International, the Mara Lion Project, Nature Kenya and The Peregrine Fund, and focus is on how best to deal with the rising problem of wildlife poisoning throughout the country.

Wildlife rangers based on the ground are usually first to notice poison incidents, but are not always aware of the signs and symptoms, nor are they well versed in what steps to take following an incident.

The training is designed to enable rangers and other concerned parties in the Mara and northern Kenya to limit the impact of individual poisoning.

Following the workshop, trainees will commit to disseminating their knowledge by delivering subsequent training to their respective teams. Each trainee will also become a focal point within their local area on all issues relating to wildlife poisoning.

This training is part of a larger project being developed by BirdLife International, the Mara Lion Project, Nature Kenya and The Peregrine Fund, aimed at developing a formal poisoning response protocol in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service. This protocol would better facilitate prosecution of wildlife poisoners throughout Kenya.