Highest Level of Conflict in 2023 in MEP’s July Report

In July, with crops ripe throughout the Mara, Mara Elephant Project’s resources were dedicated to mitigating conflict, promoting co-existence within the communities and assisting partners when the worst case scenario occurs.

On July 20, The MEP “Foxtrot” ranger team joined Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers to move two bull elephants crop raiding in maize farms in the Munyas area. The elephants weren’t responding to the ranger’s efforts on the ground and the MEP helicopter was called in to provide aerial assistance. CEO Marc Goss piloted the helicopter and successfully moved them out of farms while rangers remained on the ground to ensure the community was safe. Also in July, MEP CEO Marc Goss received a report of elephants in settlement areas in the Shompole area in Kajiado County. The MEP helicopter was deployed to move the elephants away from the settlements to mitigate a building conflict situation.

On the ground in July, the MEP mobile ranger team received a report from the community that two bull elephants had left the conservancy and crossed into their fenced farms. The team rapidly responded and pushed the elephants back to safety using firecrackers. The MEP “Lima” ranger team deployed in the high conflict area of Mosiro act as conservation ambassadors within the community they call family and friends. In July, children came face-to-face with elephants while walking their route to school, a scary prospect. In response, the MEP ranger team escorted the children to and from school to ensure their safety.

In the month of July, MEP rangers and researchers continued with their elephant monitoring efforts to ensure their health, safety and movement in high conflict areas across the GME. The MEP mobile ranger team received reports of two injured elephants in one day. The first, a female, had a spear wound and MEP’s community rangers assisted KWS Vet Dr. Aminga from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Mobile Vet Unit in the successful treatment. Later that day, the team partnered again to treat a bull with an arrow wound. Both treatments were successful and required a team effort alongside personnel from Naboisho and Olare Motorogi conservancies. We shall continue monitoring these elephants as they recover.

The MEP long-term monitoring (LTM) team assisted KWS Vet Dr. Njoroge from the SWT Mobile Vet Unit with two elephant treatments. One on a bull known as individual 948 in the MEP database of identified individuals had a spear wound on his chest. The treatment was successful and the elephant was swiftly back on his feet. Not long after this treatment, the LTM team received a report from a tourism partner that there was an injured bull elephant in Mara North Conservancy. Once on the scene, the LTM team identified him as individual 28 in MEP’s database. MEP responded with the helicopter and the LTM team to assist during the bull’s treatment for two arrow wounds. The arrows were successfully removed from his torso and front leg and the injuries treated.

The MEP Co-Existence Farm started working with school conservation clubs in July to educate and empower students on conservation issues. Five primary schools were identified, and a plan of activities were set for the remaining part of 2023, two meetings have already been carried out, one to explain the work MEP is doing and its importance to conservation and the second we gathered the young learners together on World Ranger Day to learn about the importance of rangers and get career motivation. These activities are a great way to promote co-existence and encourage the next generation of conservation heroes.

In July, the MEP /SWT Mau De-Snaring Unit operating in the Mau Forest arrested two suspects chopping down red cedar posts and producing charcoal. The “Alpha” team, alongside Kenya Forest Service, also destroyed four active charcoal kilns. Overall, in July, there was one ivory suspect and one bushmeat poaching suspect arrested alongside government partners, 3 kg of ivory and 2 kg of bushmeat seized, and 36 snares removed. There were 23 habitat destruction suspects arrested alongside government partners and 397 pieces of timber and 1,113 posts confiscated. MEP rangers destroyed 36 charcoal sacks and 23 kilns, they also mitigated 43 conflict incidents, by far the highest number in 2023. In July, MEP rangers covered a distance of 1,681 km on foot and 22,043 km by car in the GME.

MEP conducted an EarthRanger training for our partners at Mara North Conservancy. EarthRanger is a conservation software that MEP uses to monitor our assets in real time and effectively manage our wildlife and habitat protection activities and impact. MEP is committed to supporting conservation managers with EarthRanger training to advance data driven conservation for the benefit of all wildlife and wild spaces in the Mara.

“From the training we were able to realize the importance of using EarthRanger. It will definitely help us to reduce paperwork and also enable us in gathering more precise and detailed reports from the field.”

Raphael Kereto, Grazing Officer, Mara North Conservancy
In July, MEP celebrated World Ranger Day. Thank you to all the participants who joined MEP rangers for the various competitions over World Ranger Day. Thanks to support from How Many Elephants, Föreningen Försvara Elefanterna, Elephanatics and many individuals, we supported nine rangers to attend advanced training with our government partner KWS. Thank you!
Thank you to the Leslie L Alexander Foundation for their continued support and to Kampur Travel Diaries for their generous donation to support the MEP Co-Existence Farm. There were 17 entries in The Greatest Maasai Mara photo competition in June. A special thank you to all the photographers who supported MEP. Left: An entry from Alexia Chevron.

Finally, for over 40 years, the Wildscreen Organization has been advancing natural world storytelling. With support from BBC Studios Natural History Unit, Nairobi hosted a 2-day Wildscreen hub event and representatives from Mara Elephant Project had the honor of attending.

MEP Monthly Report July 2023