Kenya's invaluable wildlife resources are under threat due to wildlife crime which has been on the increase in the recent past. With a significant population of wildlife living outside the protected areas on a seasonal or permanent basis the scope of the Security Division’s mandate is much wider than the protected areas. Wildlife crime is one of the main challenges in wildlife conservation. The Security Division is the functional arm of KWS which ensures that wildlife resources and their habitats are secure.
KWS horse patrol officers
The overall goal and primary mandate of the Division is to strengthen law enforcement, protect wildlife and its habitat, enhance tourist security in protected areas and safeguard KWS assets. The division has greatly reduced the level of poaching, improved visitor security and has strengthened Parks and Reserves management.
The Division has five departments and two sections that deal with the different aspects of wildlife security. These are Wildlife Protection, Intelligence, Investigation, Manyani Field Training School and the Service Quartermaster Departments, Staff Officers Administration and Emergency Management Unit.
To protect wildlife and its habitat, enhance security in protected areas and safeguard KWS assets and to enforce the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (CAP 376) Laws of Kenya.
OBJECTIVES OF THE DIVISION
(i) Strategic Objectives
- Protect Kenya’s biodiversity i.e. Flora and Fauna
- Ensure security of National Parks and Reserves
- Enforce the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (CAP 376) Laws of Kenya.
- To Safeguard the Assets of the Organisation.
(ii) Operational Objectives
- Eliminate poaching in protected areas and reduce it to a bare minimum in other areas.
- Combat illegal trade in wildlife species and their products.
- Safeguard KWS property, assets and revenue against fraud, theft, misappropriation or misuse.
- Provide security to all tourists and visitors within wildlife protected areas under KWS jurisdiction.
- Train, equip and kit uniformed personnel.
- Enhance collaboration with national, regional and international law enforcement agencies.
- Enhance emergency response capacity.
DEPARTMENTS UNDER THE SECURITY DIVISION
(i) Wildlife Protection Department
This is the department that is mainly charged with provision of security to wildlife and its habitat, provision of security to visitors in protected areas and other tourist circuits under KWS jurisdiction, combating poaching and protection of KWS assets and property. The Department personnel in all areas under KWS Jurisdiction achieve this through high profile foot, vehicle and aerial patrols.
The department also maintains a dog unit, to compliment the work of its professionally trained ranger workforce. The KWS tracker dogs have been deployed successfully in active operations to track bandits/poachers. The presence of sniffer dogs at airports is a powerful disincentive to potential ivory or rhino horn traffickers.
(ii) Intelligence Department
The intelligence department has a network which covers the entire country. It is charged with the responsibility of collecting, collating, and analyzing security related information from which it generates intelligence concerning the security of wild flora and fauna, security of tourists and KWS resources. The department undertakes surveillance and monitoring of bandits and gangs around wildlife-protected areas. Since its inception in 1991, the department has won confidence and support of communities neighbouring National Parks and Reserves who are largely the source of information relating to wildlife crimes in the country.
The department houses a specialized data collation and analysis section which maintains a security database to serve the entire organization. This section has secured accurate data related to wildlife security since 1992.
KWS security personnel
(iii) Investigation Department
This is the department tasked to carry out investigations of all wildlife crimes, such as poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and their products. It is responsible for arresting trophy dealers, recovering all illegally held trophies and conducting prosecutions on cases related to wildlife crime. The department has been successful in managing wildlife related crime such as bush meat poaching, illegal trade in wildlife and their products and preventing fraud and loss of service revenue.
(iv) Service Quartermaster Department
This department is charged with the responsibility of managing and facilitating procurement of all armed wing stores such as uniforms, equipment, arms, ammunition and related accessories and food ration for field armed wing personnel.
OTHER SUPPORT SECTIONS
(i) Emergency Management Unit
This unit was created to enhance the emergency preparedness and response capacity of KWS. Emergencies such as fires, floods and accidents within and outside our parks are now dealt with professionally, responsibly and within reasonable time. The unit is tasked with, co-ordination and implementation of emergency management training programmes and equipping field emergency response teams among others.
(ii) Staff Officer Administration
This is the administrative section of the division. This section offers logistical and other support to the other departments within the Security Division. It is responsible for administration of radio communication both at KWS Headquarters and field station/units and enforcement of the KWS (Armed Wing) Disciplinary Code. It is also charged with the responsibility of planning training programmes for armed wing personnel.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF SECURITY DIVISION
The security division has realized the following achievements since its establishment.
- Reduced incidents of wildlife poaching throughout the country.
- Reduced habitat destruction and degradation of water catchment areas.
- Reduced incidents of attacks or harassment of the tourists visiting National Parks and Reserves.
- Reduced cases of revenue theft and fraud in all income generating National Parks and Reserves.
- Improved Kenya's image as a tourist destination through provision of adequate security in protected areas.
- Enhanced local and International wildlife Law enforcement linkages.
- Well developed and maintained surveillance and intelligence network.
- Maintenance of an updated and efficient security database.
- Disaster preparedness and rapid emergency response.
COMMITTMENT TO SERVICE DELIVERY
Security division will strive to uphold high operational standards in guaranteeing security of wildlife and safety of visitors within our areas of jurisdiction with a view to making it an international leader in wildlife law enforcement. This will be achieved through close collaboration with local communities, other conservation stakeholders and Government security agencies in enhancement of wildlife and visitor security. Regional collaborative efforts such as synchronized cross border operations, joint cross border meetings and concept of Peace Parks will be enhanced to address security issues along the shared international border.