Meet MEP Original Collared Elephant Maddy
One of the key MEP approaches to fulfilling our mission is the collaring, monitoring and data collection on key elephant candidates in the Mara ecosystem. In 2011, MEP began with 10 elephants, focusing on candidates that provided interesting movement patterns, defined the extent of the ecosystem, were notorious crop raiders, represented a large herd, or were a security risk for communities. Maddy was one of those female elephants collared in December 2011 in the southern section of the Mara Triangle close to the border of the Serengeti. At the time of her collaring MEP was hoping to gather interesting movement data about her and her herd hoping they ventured into the Serengeti to help us define how elephants are moving between Kenya and Tanzania.
Maddy with her family herd.
Fortunately, during the entire lifetime of Maddy’s collar battery, she only left the safety of the Mara Triangle twice to venture into the Serengeti, which is why in July 2015, when her collared expired, MEP did not re-collar Maddy.
This map shows Maddy’s movements during wet and dry season. Notice she didn’t venture out of safety much, making her a smart elephant but not an ideal collaring candidate.
Maddy was named after MEP CEO Marc Goss’ wife, Madde Goss, who ventured out on collaring operations often in the early years of MEP and was keen on tracking her namesake elephant.
“I tracked and followed her throughout her time as a collared elephant. It was nice to be able to confirm that some elephants stay within their safe area of residence. We could also see patterns in her movements, like moving towards the escarpment away from the migration. Maddy kept her family safe, she is a good mother and by the time we removed her collar she lived with a subadult female, a young bull and a 3-year-old baby. I really identified with her keeping to the safe spaces in the Mara and her ability to sense danger. At one point, she did venture up to the edge of the escarpment, walking close to farmland but probably realized that was too risky so she went back to the Triangle.” Madde Goss
Madde, much like the elephant, is raising two young children in the Mara where she and Marc make their home at MEP HQ.