The Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari helicopter is an essential tool to Mara Elephant Project’s operations. Funding the helicopter is of the upmost importance for keeping MEP moving toward our mission.
We flew 280 hours in 2016 and, due to an increase in human-elephant conflict, we plan on surpassing that in 2017. Each hour of flight requires $300 worth of fuel, but in that hour MEP can respond rapidly to mitigate human-elephant conflict that previously would take us days to respond to.
In the month of March MEP investigated two reports of dead elephants and one report of an injured elephant in Olchoro Conservancy. We also collared a new at-risk female elephant who roams with a large herd in the Loita Hills area, notorious for its recent poaching activity.
There was a report of a poacher’s camp in the Mau Forest that MEP was able to reconnaissance with the helicopter and deploy rangers.
View from the helicopter of poaching camp in Mau Forest.
We responded to a human-elephant conflict situation in Oldonyo Narasha and were able to push a large herd to safety in Olkinyei.
Pushing a large herd to safety with the Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari helicopter.
Additionally, thanks to funding from the World Wildlife Fund, MEP is able to use the helicopter to monitor our 22 collared elephants on a monthly basis. During these flights, thanks to the Save the Elephants form, vital data is recorded about the elephant’s movements and overall health. On March 29 and 30 we were able to monitor all 22 of our collared elephants and record this data.