In March of 2011, Wildlife Works welcomed its first-ever female rangers to the team of 75 rangers currently working at our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project area to protect the local wildlife from poachers and other threats. At Wildlife Works, we believe vigorously in equal opportunity employment, and are excited that for the first time in our fifteen-year history, we have been able to welcome a total of four female rangers to the WW family. This is a very important milestone for us, and we’d like to take a moment to share the unique stories of these recent additions to our team in a series of posts featuring each woman and her experiences working as a conservation ranger on our sanctuary over the past year.
We begin with Jane Mwae, a 32-year-old mother of two, who has been with us for a little over a year. Originally from Sagalla, a small tribe located in the Taita Hills of Southwest Kenya, Jane’s duties as a ranger involve tracking poachers and colliers, who illegally cut down trees to produce charcoal. In particular, Jane is passionate about educating the colliers she tracks on the detrimental side effects of deforestation, on both a local and global level.
We feel blessed to work with somebody so passionate about wildlife conservation, and are excited to know that with this job, Jane has been able to provide for her two daughters and widowed mother, who still live in her hometown of Sagalla. Jane, who previously described herself as “idle” and unemployed, has not only been able to gain a steady income, but has also learned a great deal through this project, from how to interact with the local wildlife, to the global implications of their endangerment.
She has been inspired to continue Wildlife Works’ efforts to educate people on the dangers of deforestation. As Jane points out, our duties lie not only in stopping it from happening on our own turf, but to actually educate the people we do catch, in the hopes that raising awareness will prevent, or at least reduce the rate of, further deforestation in the future.