MEP teams are also taking the lead in testing innovative technologies for anti-poaching and conflict mitigation.
MEP has collared 23 elephants allowing us to monitor 15,000km2 or 3.7 million acres of land.
MEP has successfully installed four elephant-deterrent chili fences in the Transmara region. We’ve held a training session where 30 local chiefs, farmers and community members attended to learn, not only how to grow their own chilies, but construct chili fences on their farms. Kenyan farmers were asking for chili seeds and more information from the Tanzania farmers who were growing chilies successfully. The goodwill toward chili fences is growing in the Mara with farmers asking MEP to spread the word about the growing model and availability of chili powder.
MEP has trained eight of our rangers to fly UAVs, creating a core group of rangers that are able to fly and maintain the UAVs in the field. MEP has prepared a “Drone Flying Manual” that has allowed us to take the knowledge we have using drones to combat human-elephant conflict and share it with other organizations in Africa. UAVs are a cost effective and safe alternative to helicopters in conservation operations.
MEP engages the Mara’s local communities to promote positive human-elephant relations. This means responding to potential conflict situations using the tools and strategies MEP teaches. Poachers in the communities are often associated with other criminal and gang activities so MEP seeks intelligence from the community to help put these criminals behind bars. The Narok County government works with MEP through their court system by prosecuting poachers and teaming up on anti-poaching operations with their county ranger force.
“WE STARTED AS PRIMARILY ANTI-POACHING BUT WE’RE NOW MOVING INTO DEVELOPING COMMUNITIES. WHY? BECAUSE ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY ARE STAKEHOLDERS IN PROTECTING ELEPHANTS AND MARA ELEPHANT PROJECT IS TRYING TO GIVE THEM AN AVENUE TO PLAY A PART IN ELEPHANT CONSERVATION.” Marc Goss, CEO, Mara Elephant Project
The Mara Elephant Project’s on the ground actions are considerable, effective and widespread throughout the Mara. MEP continues to be instrumental in defending elephants in one of the world’s top priority elephant rangelands during a time when the fate of the species in the wild is critically threatened. This conservation project addresses a profound danger for our planet and our species’ ecological legacy.