Celebrate World Ranger Day with Mara Elephant Project!
Mara Elephant Project has developed and successfully manages rapid response anti-poaching units, and six patrol units that patrol hotspots and react to intelligence reports. The ranger teams are all split into defined areas of operation that they are tasked with patrolling. MEP has also developed a widespread intelligence network to infiltrate poaching gangs. While the rapid response units and patrol teams have clearly defined areas of operation, the intelligence team operates over a larger area. In addition to the MEP rangers, we have developed a close partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Narok County Government which enabled us to embed 10 rangers from each organization into MEP teams. All the rangers have completed several training courses, including commander training, medic courses, and attended annual refresher training.
MEP rangers during a recent training course at MEP HQ in April.
Key MEP ranger responsibilities are to: visit collared elephants daily; respond to collar alerts; work with the attached Kenya Wildlife Service and Narok County Government rangers on all law enforcement operations; work with intelligence teams to set up operations and make arrests; respond to poaching reports; arrest poachers and follow each case from arrest to conviction; respond to conflict reports and work with community partners to mitigate human-elephant conflict; and respond to poaching and conflict with vehicles, drones, helicopter and other mitigation tools.
MEP rangers monitoring collared elephant Chelsea.
Since MEP’s inception in 2012, the rapid response units and intelligence teams have been responsible for 316 arrests of ivory dealers, middlemen and poachers and recovered 1,137 kilograms of ivory from arrests. They have decreased elephant mortalities 72% since 2012 and increased the number of convicted poachers through improved evidence and case file management. These activities have raised the opportunity cost of poaching in the areas of operation, decreased elephant mortalities, and increased the number of convicted wildlife criminals.
A March 30 arrest of two suspects with 17 kg of ivory.
The main indicator of success for protecting elephants for MEP is recording the number of dead elephants in the ecosystem or the Monitoring of Illegally Killed Elephants (MIKE) and Percentage of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE). These data sets are good indicators of the level of poaching and the means and cause of elephant deaths. Since 2012, through MEP ranger’s efforts, PIKE has reduced from 83% in 2012 in the northern Mara to 44% in 2017. This translates to a reduction from 102 illegally killed elephants in 2012 to 15 in 2017.
In addition to all of these MEP ranger successes they have also managed to: establish a hotline for the local community and respond to 278 human-elephant conflict incidents in 2016 and 2017; build 38 kilometers of chili fences and train 540 framers in their erection and maintenance; implement an elephant monitoring system, providing data which is being used daily to mitigate human-elephant conflict, inform deployment and anti-poaching work, and promote trans-boundary cooperation within the wider ecosystem; and establish strong working relationships with key partners such as Kenya Wildlife Service, local community leaders, local schools, Narok County Government, Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA), seven local conservancies, tourist camps and other conservation partners including Save the Elephants, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Elephant Voices, The Maa Trust and the Mara Predator Conservation Programme.
Mara Elephant Project rangers are successfully doing their job, but they need your help!
You can help MEP rangers by purchasing items on the MEP Amazon Wish List.
You can help MEP rangers with a direct donation for supplies like:
$760 – provides four pairs of socks per ranger for 38 rangers
$1,200 – provides four hand held GPS devices for a ranger unit
$1,600 – provides four Icon ground to air radios for a ranger unit to use when coordinating an operation with the MEP Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari Helicopter
$2,000 – provides four solar panels for rangers to use for electricity while in the field
$2,100 – provides 35 day packs and camel packs to keep their clothing and gear clean and dry while out in the field
$3,000 – provides six InReach Tracking Devices for MEP’s six patrol units
$3,800 – provides 38 LED flashlights for each MEP ranger to use at night while in the field
$5,700 – provides 38 wet weather kits for rangers to use during rainy weather
$6,800 – provides eight four-man tents for our patrol units
$8,400 – provides 20 km of chili fences to be built and 240 people to be trained in eight human-elephant conflict workshops. These workshops are held with local communities before the high crop raiding season which occurs twice annually. Community members are taught different approach to avoiding human-elephant conflict, how to erect and maintain chili fences to keep elephants out of crops. MEP rangers also erect chili fences with members of the local community as part of these workshops in areas where elephants are known to crop raid based on collar data and request from the community.
$17,100 – provides 38 rangers with full new uniforms including a pair of boots, two pairs of pants, two long-sleeve shirts, two t-shirts, two pairs of underpants, one hat, one hat, one jacket and one sweater.
$20,720 – provides ranger training and development plus tactical refresher and medic course. Key to the effectiveness, morale and retention of rangers is on-going training and development. MEP provides for ten days of training per annum per ranger at a cost of $58 per day per ranger. This training is provided by 51 Degrees Ltd. and covers refresher courses on tactical and intelligence operations, and field medical training.
Your support ensures that MEP rangers can do their job to protect elephants and conserve the greater Mara ecosystem!
Celebrate World Ranger Day with a DONATION that goes directly to the frontlines, SUPPLIES on MEP’s Amazon Wish List or email Claire for how you can help.