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 on a monthly basis across the ecosystem in our Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari helicopter (read more about aerial monitoring here). December was our first full month of aerial monitoring and already the results have been interesting.
During our monitoring flight on December 19 MEP spotted an endangered black rhino and her baby calf in the Olderikesi section of the Maasai Mara North Reserve that had not previously been noted. Another exciting development is that a MEP collared elephant, Shorty, was photographed for the first time in over 2 years (see picture below)!
We’ve also recently created a partnership with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) in the Serengeti, which has allowed us to monitor our collared elephants that cross over into that park. The Serengeti has received a lot more rain recently than the Mara, which leads MEP to believe many of our collared elephants will head to greener grass so to speak. Flying over the western boundary of the park provided an interesting view of the newly developed settlements and farming areas near the park boundary. The expansion of these settlements are definitely something to monitor in the future for MEP to keep our elephants safely out.
Shorty and Mytene have already been crop raiding in these areas and MEP continues to send the Warden their coordinates to prevent any human-elephant conflict situations.
Though MEP’s response to human-elephant conflict situations is continually on the rise, we were able to mitigate several situations in December that have helped us learn more for the future. We responded to a wounded elephant in the Transmara that we used the helicopter to push into Mara North Conservancy. Kenya Wildlife Service vet Dr. Lekolol was able to treat the elephant for arrow and spear wounds.
Besides human-elephant conflict mitigation response, MEP also had the opportunity to shuttle bloodhounds being deployed in the eastern part of the Maasai Mara North Reserve. The Mara Conservancy owns the bloodhounds that Karsten Ree (pictured), owner of the MEP helicopter, was using to track thieves.
Your generosity keeps our most vital human elephant conflict tool flying. Please consider a contribution today!