Former Poacher Now Dedicated Wildlife Protector


Single Greatest Threat

Poaching for the commercial bushmeat trade may be the single greatest threat to wildlife populations in Africa. The most common method used by poachers to kill wildlife is wire snares. Small animals such as porcupines and dik-diks, as well as larger animals such as lions, giraffes, zebras, and elephants, are caught in snares every day.


Pushing Back partners with Wildlife Works (WW) to push back by employing highly skilled rangers to locate and destroy snares located within the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Kenya. Encompassing 80,000 acres, this sanctuary is home to 50 large mammal species, more than 20 species of bats, and over 300 species of birds and essential populations of IUCN Red List species such as African elephants, Grévy’s zebras, cheetah, and African hunting dogs. To protect the wildlife in Rukinga, WW needs rangers to patrol the land and remove the thousands of snares placed inside the sanctuary every year.

A direct result of your donations, WW can employee more highly skilled and dedicated rangers. WW recently told us about the transformation of Ayub Vura. Ayub has been working as a WW ranger since 2010, though, he is no ordinary ranger.

Ten years ago, Ayub was one of the most notorious poachers in the region. Ayub wasn’t born into a wealthy family. He grew up with limited education and then found himself with no job.

“In 2007, I did not have a job, and that was when I was approached by a man who convinced me to help him by slaughtering wild animals, and with my knowledge of the thick forest area, we began poaching,” he stated.

Ayub’s first attempts as a poacher were not easy, at times having to walk long distances and spend up to two days in the thick dryland forest. They had to carry extra clothing and food to sustain them, and they always feared Kenya Wildlife Service or WW rangers could spot them.

alt="former poacher in truck"
Ayub Vura on the job
alt="two wild zebras"

Tired of Running

In 2010, Ayub heard about a ranger recruitment exercise at WW and decided to give it a try. By that time, Ayub had grown tired of running, and he feared for both his freedom and his life.

To date, Ayub is one of the best trackers at WW. According to Eric, the WW Head Ranger, Ayub and other former poachers have become the most valuable employees at WW.