A Busy Month for All Departments in MEP’s November Report

On November 19, alongside Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Vet Dr. Limo and the MEP “Echo” ranger unit, KWS, Southern Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO) and MEP collared a female elephant in a herd of over 60 elephants in the Mosiro area. This female elephant was collared in response to an escalating conflict incident in the area. Two days prior, a report came in from the community that a 22-year-old man died as a result of wounds sustained by an elephant. CEO Marc Goss immediately rushed to the scene in the leased helicopter and alongside the MEP “Bravo” and “Echo” ranger units and government partners, they were able to communicate with the local community; however, tensions continued to rise. The teams with Marc’s aerial support spent days trying to reduce rising tensions and on November 19 they boiled over when a mob was formed to attack a nearby elephant herd. The rangers and helicopter were used to disperse the mob and collaring an elephant in the herd attacked was the best response to calm the community’s nerves and protect the elephant herd under attack. The female elephant was collared to increase KWS and MEP’s ability to respond to conflict in this area immediately and to understand the connectivity between Mosiro and the Loita Plains. The MEP “Bravo” ranger unit is permanently stationed in this area to protect the newly collared elephant and her herd, and they will work with the community to reduce rising tensions and protect their farms and homes. The Indianapolis Zoological Society supported the protection of a newly collared female elephant on November 19, which was mentioned above, and named her “Indy”.

A total of 33 kg of bushmeat was seized in November and eight total suspects arrested alongside government partners, mostly by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Mau De-Snaring Units, the Charlie and Golf teams.

There was a total of 54 snares removed in November. On the 24th, they removed eight snares and two days later another 10 snares were removed by the Golf team.

In terms of habitat destruction, MEP rangers alongside government partners arrested 63 suspects for habitat destruction activities. This included destroying 37 charcoal kilns and 29 charcoal sacks.



Finally, in terms of security, KWS arrested one suspect with six pieces of elephant tusk weighing 14.5 kg on November 16 based on MEP intelligence alongside the Busia investigation team.

Dr. Jake Wall attended the EarthRanger User Conference in November. The conference brought users together to share their EarthRanger stories and I presented on three new technologies that MEP is developing with partners that are within the EarthRanger ecosystem of software. EarthRanger has now grown to 187 sites in 40 countries. Thank you to EarthRanger for including us in the conference, it was great to be back with everyone to exchange ideas.

Photographed at the conference alongside Senior Conservation Technology Director Jes Lefcourt.

A paper co-authored by Dr. Wall was released in November. In the paper, “Risk perception and tolerance shape variation in agricultural use for a transboundary elephant population”, it was discovered that elephants are balancing the costs and benefits of crop raiding both spontaneously and seasonally. The study by Colorado State University (CSU), Mara Elephant Project (MEP), Grumeti Fund, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), and Save the Elephants (STE), was published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

All of the MEP Research Department field assistants are working on mapping fences, roads and landcover ground-truthing points using motorbikes and our Njia app. They recorded 183 km of fences and 87 LCC points in November.

KWS and MEP collared elephant Fred had a low-speed alert, so the MEP leased helicopter was used to get an aerial visual to ensure his safety. Luckily, he was in good health alongside Kegol on November 29.

MEP celebrated #GivingTuesday and we were blown away by the support people showed our organization. We thank everyone for donating on this big day of giving, and helping MEP continue protecting elephants and their habitats into the next 10 years of operation. Better Safaris has launched their new website, which includes a safari that 100% supports MEP. We look forward to growing this partnership in the new year. MEP launched a Bonfire merchandise fundraiser on November 16 that runs for a month. It features a newly designed MEP t-shirt and for every unit sold, $12 goes back to the organization.

MEP was featured in the December issue of National Geographic magazine, which was released online and to subscribers in late November. CEO Marc Goss and the Mara Conservancy rangers and CEO Brian Heath were all featured in the article “Beyond what tourists see, a rich Maasai culture with many challenges”. Additionally, a map using data from the MEP Research Department was featured in the “The Unlikely King” article.

The photo featured in National Geographic’s December issue by Charlie Hamilton James.

MEP’s Conservation Officer Wilson Sairowua attended an outreach workshop for the movie The Elephant Queen. While attending the conference, Wilson was able to participate in discussions and had his first viewing of The Elephant Queen, which is being shown all over Kenya right now in a mobile cinema unit. The mobile cinema unit and engagement team will be visiting 10 schools in the Mara by the first of the year and plan to show the film and engage the children in activities to nurture pride in Kenya’s wildlife. MEP is a proud partner of this initiative, and we look forward to participating more in January.

In November, we were delighted to host two guests. The first was Jordan Steward communications manager for EarthRanger. EarthRanger is a crucial partner for MEP and showing Jordan firsthand the software in action was a great way to continue communicating the importance of technology in conservation. We were also excited to host Holly Budge, co-founder of World Female Ranger Day and founder of How Many Elephants. While at MEP, Holly embedded with the SWT Mau De-Snaring Unit operating in the southwestern portion of the Mau Forest. World Female Ranger Day, celebrated on June 23, was launched last year with the goal to shine a light on female wildlife rangers. MEP was so happy to have Holly join us to see the hard work of our inclusive Kenyan staff firsthand and we look forward to celebrating World Female Ranger Day in 2022 alongside the rest of the world.

Holly and Jordan photographed with the MEP LTM team.

The Nobelity Project has generously supported MEP for several years, so we were delighted to welcome founders Turk and Christy Pipkin for a visit recently. Thank you to the Nobelity Project for their support of MEP over the years.

Finally, we wanted to end the November report by highlighting some great photos from the field.