Mara Elephant Project Helicopter Fundraise

Marc and his Helicopter

Mara Elephant Project has been on the front line to protect elephants in the Maasai Mara region in Kenya, East Africa. Poaching has hit elephants hard over the last 5 years. In response, MEP has deployed 30 highly trained rangers who, with intelligence, rapid response and patrol teams, have brought poaching down dramatically with our partner Kenya Wildlife Service. MEP’s work for elephants is effective and readily scaled-up across the elephant landscape. Though there has been a drop in elephant deaths due to poaching, we are seeing an increase in deaths as a result of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC).

Mara Elephant Deaths
Year H/E Conflict Natural PAC Poached Unknown Grand Total PIKE
2010 2 3 21 5 31 74%
2011 9 8 1 30 19 67 58%
2012 6 8 96 12 122 83%
2013 8 1 61 14 84 76%
2014 9 11 53 12 85 73%
2015 15 8 0 12 11 46 59%

Figure of Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) data in the Maasai Mara indicates a reduction in Percentage of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE) of 34% from 2012 to 2015.

To reduce the number of elephants killed or injured by farmers protecting their crops, MEP rangers work with local communities to employ an ‘HEC Toolkit’ such as building chili powder fences around crops, using small drones, big lights and firecrackers to discourage elephants from entering farms. Most times the most effective method for pushing a stubborn elephant out of a farm is herding the elephant out by using a well-flown helicopter.

Since deploying the Karen Blixen Camp (KBC) Helicopter, MEP’s HEC Toolkit has been transformed. Karen Blixen Camp owner Karsten Ree supported MEP CEO Marc Goss in completing his helicopter pilot’s license in 2015 and ever since then MEP now has access to the helicopter for HEC, anti-poaching and security missions in the Maasai Mara.

The Rapid Response Team “RRT” provides critical support to patrol teams. The helicopter is part of the RRT Standby Team that reacts at a moment’s notice to patrol team reports and intelligence reports.

Helicopter responding

This year so far the helicopter has enabled MEP to rapidly respond to situations that otherwise would take hours to reach by road. We have flown 19 flights to chase elephants out of farms and conflict areas, 14 security flights deploying rangers who are searching for poachers and ferrying supplies, 11 flights to monitor elephants and 3 Emergency Medical Service MS flights bringing the total to 85 flight hours. These numbers grow by the day.

 Our monthly Helicopter Reports (March-July 2016) are availablE:

Helicopter Report March 2016

Helicopter Report April and May 2016

Helicopter Report June 2016

Helicopter Report July 2016

In 2016, it is essential that MEP raises funds to keep the helicopter flying, which costs $300 per hour for fuel and essential servicing.

In order to do this, we need to raise $70,000 in 2016 for flying time and maintenance. We received exciting news this month that a donor has provided the funds for our hanger, which will break ground by August, but there is still more to do. If you would like to make a donation from the United States our umbrella organization, ESCAPE Foundation, Inc., has 501(c)(3) status. Our Kenya Trust is also able to receive donations.

One hundred percent of your donation will be allocated to helicopter time and maintenance. Please head here to donate to the Generosity campaign or donate directly to MEP.