The first quarter of 2017 has been busy on the front lines for Mara Elephant Project rangers.
We made several arrests and seizures in February including two suspects on February 21 with two kilograms of ivory and three suspects on February 23 with 60 kilograms of zebra meat. Every arrest ensures these poachers are brought to justice and secures the future of the Mara ecosystem.
The two suspects arrested with the ivory seizure.
The Transmara area has seen an increase in human-elephant conflict in the past three months. Many elephants residing in the forest came out because of the drought and found mature crops ready to harvest. In response, MEP has deployed a new patrol team that will be stationed there for a one-month period instead of the normal two weeks. This will ensure we are staying ahead of the poachers at every turn and collecting intelligence that will keep elephants safe. Additionally, we erected a three-kilometer long chili fence around a frequently raided farm.
The Transmara chili fence.
In February, MEP mobilized the rapid response team to Loita Hills due to an increase in poaching in the first quarter of 2017. On January 15 the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in Loita reported one elephant carcass that had been poached, which pushed MEP to deploy our intelligence team warden to reconnaissance the area.
MEP ranger camp in the Loita Hills.
The Loita Forest, commonly known as Naimina Enkiyo, is home to elephants during the dry and rainy seasons. The area seems to be isolated enough that poaching is increasing steadily every year. MEP has been receiving reports of gunfire from the local community in Loita Forest so on February 13 MEP, KWS and Narok County Government rangers were deployed to Loita for a two-week operation in the forest. Read more about my account of our time spent in the Loita Forest.
MEP rangers discover a cave where poachers have been camping.
MEP was recently given a new 4X4 Land Rover from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This vehicle is going to be very important for our rapid response team. It will help enlarge the MEP area of operations and give us the ability to respond quickly in areas that are experiencing high levels of poaching and human-elephant conflict like Mosiro and Loita. Additionally, it will help with monitoring collared elephants and treatment of any wounded elephants.
The MEP rangers are excited about a new Amazon Wish List set up for supplies that are needed to keep us all safe and working to the best of our ability. Please consider donating supplies that keep us safe and comfortable while on the frontline.
Personally, I’m very pleased to announce that I have a new title at MEP. I’ve been promoted to Tracking Manager and. in addition to my other job responsibilities, I am now in charge of tracking all of the collared elephants and coordinating with all MEP rangers in the field.