One special aspect of a visit to The Manta Resort is for guests to gain insight into the important community and conservation work that takes place there. This includes the Kwanini Ranger Program. The program employs nine rangers, two women and seven men, all of whom live in nearby villages. The team represents a range of groups including youth, fishermen and women.
These dedicated rangers are on duty 24 hours a day, every day, with 2-3 on shift at one time. They are responsible for monitoring all activity within the Kwanini Marine Protected Area (MPA) in accordance with the bylaws that govern it, and preventing illegal fishing. Although the rangers do not have the power to fine offenders, they do instruct fishermen to leave the protected area and they report offenders who attempt to fish in the MPA to the Fishermen’s Committee who then issue warnings and/or fines in accordance with the bylaws.
As well as their patrolling duties, they help to keep the shoreline clean and are currently being trained in marine megafauna sightings to contribute to regional monitoring datasets. The rangers have an excellent relationship with the community and are essential to ensuring that the MPA remains a no take zone. They are passionate about their work and are key in delivering messages to their communities around conservation and sustainability. Two of the rangers have been championing conservation initiatives in their own village and are in the process of establishing a second MPA that will protect an important seagrass bed, which is excellent news! Due to the combined efforts of the rangers and the community team, the Kwanini Foundation has successfully reduced the number of fishing attempts in the KMPA to almost zero and the number of walking fishermen has drastically declined over the last few months.
Kwanini rangers are supported by the community team led by Abdulrahim, the MPA Manager, and also includes Rabia and Asha, our Community Development Officers. The rangers also report to the KMPA Steering Committee which provides links to all sectors of Makangale Shehia, and includes representatives from the District Commissioner’s Office, the police, the Fishermen’s Committee and Makangale Women’s and Youth groups. The Kwanini Foundation has a training program for the rangers which covers a variety of topics including sea safety, boat handling, swimming, conflict resolution, incident reporting and fisheries regulations. Many of the rangers are also learning English as they want to be able to interact more with guests.
Stay tuned for more news about the Kwanini Ranger Program over the next few months!