Thanks to the generosity of a Mara Elephant Project supporter, MEP is able to actively monitor and check in on our 21 GPS-collared elephants with our Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari helicopter on a monthly basis across the ecosystem.
These flights have been established as the best way to monitor elephants over a large area accurately because although MEP receives near to real-time collar data from the elephants there are several attributes that cannot be collected. The collars only give MEP a snap shot, but the visual data gives information about so many things, like the number of elephants in the herd; the bull, calf and cow ratio of each herd; the herd’s proximity to water, livestock and settlements and the habitat the elephants are living in.
Visiting the elephants in their respective area not only helps MEP understand why they are there but also if they are in danger. In addition, part of the patrol flights have a security element because potential poachers will see the helicopter as a threat to them.
During these flights MEP will be completing the STE Aerial Monitoring form and will be sharing the information from the patrol flights to help in the assessment of how elephant populations are doing in the Mara. MEP is also able to collect long-term data with these forms and leverage the live feed to inform MEP ranger patrols. MEP is proud to work with other conservation organizations through sharing data and observations.
So far MEP has flown three patrol flights and interestingly has noticed that, although family groups stay the same, the herd numbers fluctuate significantly. MEP will have more to report on this as these flights continue.
READ MEP’S FIRST FLIGHT REPORT
MEP Monthly Report October to November 2016