On World Environment Day, Mara Elephant Project announced the deployment of the Mosiro community ranger team, new guardians dedicated to protecting the Earth’s wildlife and wild spaces.
Mosiro is an ecologically important area for elephants because it forms a linkage between key elephant habitats, yet elephants in this area are threatened and communities grow frustrated. A permanent ranger team was needed to protect not only the elephants, but communities as well. The new ranger team was recruited in February directly from people living in Mosiro and the final men and women were selected for the ten-week training at MEP’s headquarters in the Mara. Over the last decade, MEP has developed a regimen of standard operating procedures for ranger training and has an in-house training course that is all led by MEP staff and can be offered to not just new MEP recruits but other organizations as well. The Mosiro recruits were joined by recruits from other nearby conservancies.
MEP celebrated the graduation of the new 29 rangers at a passing out parade in June. The cadets were joined by family, neighbors and MEP partners and the rangers proudly demonstrated their new skills. MEP staff were honored to host Hon. George Sunkuya, MP, Kajiado West, Hon. Jonathan Koroine, MCA Mosiro Ward, Hon. Toris, MCA Ewuaso Ward, MEP Advisory Committee members Loic Amado & Valery Super from Emboo River Camp, Teddy Kinyanjui from Seedballs Kenya, Joe Kellams from Focused Conservation, Mr. Keshoko, Chief, Mosiro Ward, and the Assistant Kenya Wildlife Service Deputy Warden from Kajiado. In addition, the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association joined us to celebrate the female conservancy rangers they supported that graduated alongside the new MEP rangers from Mosiro. A special thanks to partner Expert Drones East Africa for capturing the most amazing images and videos from the parade.
In 2023, MEP will celebrate 12 years in conservation. Over that time, the organization has grown and adapted in a dynamic conservation landscape. MEP’s model remains focused on building partnerships to advance our mission and a deep organizational understanding that to solve global challenges senior leadership must rely on outside expert council to guide their process. It’s with this in mind that MEP is honored to announce the establishment of an advisory committee to act as a guide for the organization as it continues to grow. The committee members will act as a sounding board for staff and offer insight, guidance and advice as and when required. Just as MEP’s rangers act as ambassadors in their communities, so too will members of the advisory committee as they’ll be tasked with raising awareness about MEP’s mission and impact within their networks to showcase the organization to new audiences. Please welcome the inaugural members of the MEP Advisory Committee, a diverse, talented group of industry experts that MEP is honored to have guiding the organization.
In June, MEP celebrated World Female Ranger Week, a time set aside to highlight the important conservation work undertaken by women on the frontlines of conservation. Fifteen MEP rangers have the opportunity to attend a tactical training at the Kenya Wildlife Service Kenya Wildlife Law Enforcement Academy. The 3-month training will improve MEP’s community ranger’s skills in areas of bush craft, navigation, disaster management, first aid and community engagement. Three of the MEP female rangers attending were supported by How Many Elephants, founder of World Female Ranger Week.
Overall, in June, there was one ivory poaching suspect arrested alongside government partners and 0.2 kg of ivory recovered. MEP rangers removed 39 snares, arrested 11 habitat destruction suspects alongside government partners, and confiscated 70 pieces of timber and 194 posts. MEP rangers destroyed 21 charcoal sacks and 27 kilns, they also mitigated 22 conflict incidents.
MEP partnered with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Vet Dr. Njoroge from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Mobile Vet Unit for several elephant treatments in June. During a routine aerial patrol, MEP CEO Marc Goss monitored a bull elephant in the Musiara area near Governor’s Camp with three arrow wounds on his back. The MEP helicopter provided aerial assistance to the KWS / SWT team while Maasai Mara National Reserve rangers were on the ground assisting. The bull was successfully treated and back on his feet and his healing progress will continue to be monitored. On June 19, MEP received a report of an injured bull elephant from Mara North Conservancy rangers. The bull is identified as individual number one in the MEP elephant database and is a large bull known within MEP as Edwin. MEP called in our KWS / SWT partners and Marc assisted in the air with the MEP helicopter. Edwin was treated for a spear wound and monitoring efforts on the ground will continue as he heals. Finally, in June, MEP received a report from Naboisho Conservancy rangers of an injured bull elephant. The KWS / SWT Mobile Vet Unit treated the bull for an arrow wound on his left leg and we assisted them in the air with the MEP helicopter. The bull was successfully treated, and he will continue to be closely monitored as he recovers.
Collared elephant Ivy is described internally at MEP as a “crop-a-holic” because her and her herd are not only frequent but expert crop raiders. On June 14, Ivy and her herd were raiding sorghum and maize farms in the Munyas area, and the MEP “Foxtrot” ranger team rapidly responded to move the elephants out and protect the community’s crops. After several hours of using their vehicle and firecrackers, which never actually touch the elephants, with minimal results the rangers called in the MEP helicopter to provide added incentive for them to move out of the community land. Marc successfully moved them out and rangers remained on the ground to ensure the community was safe.
In June, MEP rangers continued with their monitoring activities of elephants in high conflict areas to check for injuries and ensure their protection. They also monitored collared elephants Kiambi and Polaris.
In June, the MEP long-term monitoring (LTM) team and Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Jake Wall visited the Amboseli Trust for Elephants to participate in a training course at the Amboseli Elephant Research Centre. The training included both classroom and field work, where they had the opportunity to see the famous elephant Craig, and focused on studying the aging of elephants, identifying matriarchs and developing a better understanding of elephant social behavior.