International Day of Forests

On International Day of Forests, we wanted to shine a light on Mara Elephant Project and our partner’s efforts to combat the threats facing forests. Forests are key to the health and well-being of people and ecosystems. The Mau Forest forms the largest closed-canopy forest ecosystem in Kenya, the largest indigenous montane forest in East Africa, and is the single most important water catchment for the Mara River, the life force behind all flora and fauna in the Mara. It’s also home to an estimated 600 elephants. While the Mau Forest is formally protected, it continues to face threats from encroachment, deforestation and poaching.

Chags Photography

In 2018, MEP partnered with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) to combat the threats to the Mau Forest and the wildlife that call it home by launching a permanent ranger team dedicated to the Mau.

The Mau Forest must be protected, not only as a home to flora and fauna, but also as a vital water source, supplying the many rivers that feed other ecosystems and the people and animals reliant on them. It is for those reasons, and more, that we have partnered with Mara Elephant Project for the last 5 years; enhancing their ability to protect this precious habitat and the animals within, while simultaneously empowering the local community.

SWT UK Executive Director Rob Brandford

Jeffrey Wu Photography

Once the first team was deployed and started having an impact, due to the large size of the forest, a second quickly followed. Currently, the MEP “Charlie” and “Alpha” SWT Mau De-Snaring Units are patrolling the Mau and the efforts of these men and women have made an impact.

Healthy forests are vital for all aspects of a healthy planet, but they are under threat. It’s up to us to safeguard these precious natural resources and we’re extremely grateful to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for partnering with Mara Elephant Project to employ local men and women to do just that.