Mali Improving Security and Conservation in Mali

US Army team supports Rangers securing their regions and protecting endangered elephants

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$0 $7,710

No endorsement of Spirit of America by the US Department of Defense or its personnel is intended or implied.

SUPPORT THIS PROJECT

$7,710

Pays for all the equipment for 50 Rangers

$686

Provides High-Tech equipment to One Ranger Squad (GPS, Digital Camera, Binoculars, Solar Power)

$69

Equips one Ranger with a complete long-range patrolling kit

$24

Buys a Ranger a Camelback and Headlamp

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

The Gourma region of Mali occupies a strategic position both within Mali and within the “arc of insecurity” stretching from Mauritania through Niger to Somalia. The region is a haven for jihadists and armed groups in Mali who overran the area in the wake of Mali’s 2012 coup. The region and its main city, Douentza, remained under extremist control for months after fighting began in 2012 before being liberated by the Malian Army (FAMA) and a French-led military coalition.

Today, the area is formally under government control but remains vulnerable to extremist attacks and influence. IED attacks on the main road between Bamako and Gao are fairly common as the region is the crossroads between northern and southern Mali and between government and rebel areas. Both Tuareg separatists like the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and violent extremist organizations such as Ansar Dine and MUJAO currently operate in the area.

A baby desert elephant and its mother rest in the Gourma Region of Mali. Without additional protection this herd could be extinct within 5 years.
A baby desert elephant and its mother rest in the Gourma Region of Mali. Without additional protection this herd could be extinct within 5 years.

This insecure and restive area is also home to a critically endangered herd of desert elephants. The herd of 350 elephants comprises approximately 12% of the West African elephant population, and is one of only two desert elephant herds left in the world. These animals are under threat from climate change, increased habitat encroachment from local herds, and, most significantly, from poachers who sell their ivory to fund terrorism and other illicit activities.

CVJ_MAL_poaching
Mali’s Gardes Forestiers, aka Rangers, are dedicated and competent but lack the resources necessary to conduct long patrols and maximize their efforts.

The task of protecting the herd in this challenging environment falls to the Gardes Forestiers, also known as the Rangers. These Rangers patrol the Gourma region looking for poachers and enforcing environmental law. At the same time, they form a critical link in the human security chain and connect the FAMA with local communities. The Rangers have developed relationships and trust with local villages and leaders through regular interactions that have, in turn, led to significant information sharing about extremist and illicit activity in the region.

A US Army Civil Affairs team working in the area has identified these Rangers as critical to improving security in the region and protecting the elephants in the long term. However, these Rangers are under-resourced, lacking the capabilities to effectively patrol the large area they are responsible for as well as properly document poaching and extremist activities. Providing better equipment to this force of Gardes Forestiers will undoubtedly increase their range, capacity, safety, and local security.

100% of your gift will be used to purchase what is needed for this project. Donations in excess of the project's needs will be offered a refund.

 

NO ENDORSEMENT OF SPIRIT OF AMERICA BY THE US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE OR THEIR PERSONNEL IS INTENDED OR IMPLIED.

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