Indianapolis Zoological Society Supports Elephant Conservation

In 2021, the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. supported Mara Elephant Project with a grant that increases the protection of an elephant in a conflict hotspot through the approach of collaring, monitoring and collecting data. The Mosiro and Naroosora areas are currently the epicenter for rising tensions between elephants and humans and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and MEP planned to collar two more elephants in this area in 2021 and 2022 to add to the movement data we are collecting from two other collared elephants: Hannibal and Napoleon.

On November 17, a report came in from a community nearby Mosiro that a 22-year-old man died as a result of wounds sustained from an elephant. CEO Marc Goss immediately rushed to the scene in the leased helicopter and alongside the MEP “Bravo” and “Echo” ranger units and government partners, they were able to communicate with the local community; however, tensions continued to rise.

A meeting between rangers and the community to ease rising tension.

The teams with Marc’s aerial support spent days trying to reduce rising tensions and on November 19 they boiled over when a mob was formed to attack a nearby elephant herd. The rangers and helicopter were used to disperse the mob, but it became clear that collaring an elephant in the herd attacked was the best response to calm the community’s nerves and protect the elephant herd under attack. The collar and our response assured them that we were monitoring this herd of elephants and their movements 24/7 to protect the community and the elephants.

The MEP leased helicopter alongside Dr. Limo and rangers preparing for the collaring operation.

On November 19, alongside KWS Mara Vet Unit led by Dr. Limo and the MEP “Echo” ranger unit and Southern Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO), KWS and MEP collared a female elephant in a herd of over 60 elephants in the Mosiro area.

The newly collared female elephant, named Indy, will allow KWS and MEP to immediately react to conflict protecting both the elephants and community in the process. It will also help collect important datasets showing elephant movements between Mosiro and the Loita Plains to help determine the loss of connectivity between these two important areas because of the increase of infrastructure and fencing. Meanwhile, the MEP “Bravo” ranger unit is permanently stationed in this area to protect the newly collared elephant and her herd, and they will work with the community to reduce rising tensions and protect their farms and homes. Thank you to the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. for supporting MEP’s work to protect and conserve wildlife and wild spaces.