Pius joined the HPT in 2012 and patrols daily through the area around northern Mt Kenya forest Reserve. This is what he has to say about his work and life as a ranger:
Since joining the HPT, I have gained a lot of experience on conservation and identifying the different animal and bird species in Mount Kenya. Our team’s main tasks are de-snaring and apprehending and arresting loggers and poachers. Using the horses to do this motivates me very much.
The horses help us to cover long distances during patrols. The trust has trained me how to ride and take care of the horses – something I have learnt to love and be passionate about.
One of the most dangerous situations I have been in was when I escaped from an enraged female elephant with a calf. When the elephant started chasing our team, I fell off the horse as we were retreating. Luckily enough the elephant stopped pursuing and I got a chance to escape.
Conducting the patrols at times is very risky because we often meet with armed loggers and poachers. Most of the time when we meet the armed loggers it is difficult to apprehend them because of the risk of being attacked, hence the loggers or poachers sometimes escape before the armed Kenya Wildlife Service rangers can arrive to help. More training on defense, arrest and apprehension would make my work easier and safer.
The best part of daily duties is report writing (every ride is recorded using a wildlife documentary framework) and riding my favorite horse Punch. My family live 40km from my work station and they are very proud of my work which encourages me very much. Due to this involvement during my leave and days off, I enjoy educating the communities around where my family live on the importance of conserving Mt Kenya.
My favorite animal within the forest is a zebra. They are friendly and inquisitive towards the team and will often follow us as we ride. Maybe they are checking out the strange looking animals without stripes!