Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit for Mount Kenya, Mount Kenya Trust
100% of your donation applied toward the project
Many areas of Africa have not only experienced an increase in poaching but also a proliferation of snares set to catch a variety of wildlife from elephants to small antelope sold as bushmeat. Snares are especially cruel as the animal may die of starvation or thirst, succumb to a slow death from injury and if they survive can be permanently maimed.
Click on images to read Patrolmans’ biography and about the horses.
The Men of the Mounted Horse Patrol Anti Poaching Unit – Kenya, Africa
The Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit for Mount Kenya works with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to secure areas of the National Reserve between Meru and Sirimon in Kenya. As a consequence of these patrols, poaching and snaring of wildlife has been drastically reduced in patrol areas and injured animals are being monitored and cared for as needed. In addition, the visible presence of the Horse Patrol Team in communities is making an impact on local safety and the team is recording vital information and surveillance data to be used in habitat and wildlife management for further conservation activities. Moreover the teams are recording vital information and surveillance data to be used in habitat and wildlife management and future conservation work.
With all of the wonderful work being done by the Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit, please take this opportunity to learn more about the men and horses on the front lines of conservation. See their faces, learn their stories, and sponsor their important work.
Starting at just $12
you can make a difference in the lives of the patrol team, horses, villagers, elephants and other wildlife all at the same time.
Patrolman Samuel, 54 years of age
Samuel is no stranger to horses. Born on Marania Farm and introduced to horses as a child, Samuel brings a wealth of experience and confidence to the team. He first joined the Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) as a fencer in the Elephant Corridor and later joined the HPT in 2012. Having worked in several places as a horse attendant, Samuel admits that the MKT stable is the one he’s most proud. Since joining the Trust, he now leads a more disciplined life because they live with the horses while on duty. He is more focused on family life and enjoys the forest although the cold remains a challenge to him. “The horses have enabled me to expand my perspective and understanding of the entire mountain and its wildlife”.
Before joining the horse patrol team he says, “I never knew about wildlife and had never seen eland, buffalo and hyena which he now sees regularly”. Despite being born and raised on Marania farm near the HPT base, he had never seen an elephant and now realizes that elephants don’t want to interact with people but are forced to and mean no harm. Fond of Addis Ababa, Samuel is only too eager to see the number of horses and men increased in order to improve the conservation activity on Mount Kenya. Samuel is the resident caregiver for the horses, providing preventative and basic care as well as the initial care whenever the horses are sick while they wait for the veterinarian to arrive. He is passing on his skills such as regular hoof trimming and inoculations to the younger members of the team.
Patrolman Martin, 36 years of age
Martin has been involved with the Mount Kenya Trust Mounted Horse Patrol Team (MHPT) since its inception in 2011. Recruited from the surrounding community, Martin was the first man to be trained for the team and the first to meet all the horses on their arrival from Ethiopia. Martin says becoming an HPT member was life changing and motivates him to keep working and improving the team.
A father of three (two boys and a girl), Martin attributes the change in his own life to the interaction he has with horses. He says horses have given him a deeper understanding of all animals, and have exposed him to the beauty of the protected areas of Mount Kenya which were previously unknown to him. The training was tough because none of the horses had ever been ridden and the men were all inexperienced. His favorite horse, Rafiki, has thrown him off and he was nearly trampled by a lone elephant when a waterbuck bolted from a thicket and startled the horse. Martin says the horses generate curiosity when the team is on patrol and has earned them welcome and respect from community members and the general public.
Patrolman Joseph, 30 years of age
Joseph was first recruited as a stable attendant in 2012 and soon showed a keen interest in riding. Joseph had never interacted with horses before his employment with the HPT and he has come to love and care for them greatly. A natural rider, Joseph enjoys training and loves his work passionately. “Training was difficult initially, but with the support of my team mates, I am now much more confident” says Joseph.
Because of the literature on wildlife provided by Mount Kenya Trust, he has developed a deeper understanding of the behavior of wild animals. In addition, his work has made him become familiar with the beautiful Afro-alpine vegetation and wildlife on Mount Kenya which he never knew existed. He says this has helped him to have a new focus on life. He is fond of and loves the gentle nature of Rafiki because he is strong, gentle and not fearful, which reflects Joseph’s own personality. Since being with the MHPT, Joseph has learned how to trim hooves and other horse management related tasks.
Patrolman Pius, 24 years of age
The youngest of the MHPT, Pius joined the Trust in August 2012. Like his older teammates, Pius is quick to admit the changes observed in his own self as a result of working with the horses and patrols in the forest. He joined the Trust without any prior knowledge of horses but now rides well and takes his turn in managing the stables.
He says he is very happy with his work and now pays more attention to details. Of all the horses, Pius is most comfortable with Punch because the horse is not afraid. “There have been challenges, but am confident as I am still young” he says. Having fallen from several horses as a novice and recovered from incidents that are a daily challenge in the forest, his confidence grows each week.
AMANI (Swahili for peace)
Amani is a lovely, calm, gentle horse who responds well to his riders and doesn’t mind strangers riding him.
Doreen is a pretty little chestnut and the only female horse. She is great on short and medium patrols.
Punch is a strong, super-fit horse and loves to move at a quick pace. Punch is one of the best patrol team members as he is excellent at pursuing poachers.
RAFIKI (Swahili for friend)
Rafiki is very friendly and well-behaved. He is strong and always willing to go on long patrols.
NYOTA (Swahili for star)
Nyota is the only grey horse. He is very slight but incredibly strong. Despite his friendly nature he can be a very mischievous.
ZAWADI (Swahili for gift)
Zawadi is very fit and has great stamina to cover long distances. He’s calm and reliable and can be ridden by anyone.
Addis Ababa is a strong horse. He is the most well-manned of all the horses and the favorite of the entire team.
Il Ngwesi is the newest horse. He is proud and handsome, and he is slowly settling into his new life as a conservationist.