Julia with two of her calves that returned safely to her side after the collaring.
Julia is a breeding female that roams in the Loita and Shompole area with a large herd of other females (pictured right). This area has a high level of human-elephant conflict due to the placement of settlements, so it was not only essential to collect data on her herd’s movements, but also monitor them closely to mitigate human-elephant conflict during the high season when crops are ripening. Julia’s collaring is also an attempt to understand the connectivity between the Loita Forest and the lowland area in the Magadi area along the border of Kenya and Tanzania. This is a key elephant corridor that MEP has yet to collect data on.
MEP was fortunate enough to have a donor pay the full $26,128 to support the lifespan of Julia’s collar (3 years) as well as the collaring operations, monitoring and data collection necessary. This donation makes a huge impact on MEP as the collaring, monitoring and research of elephants in unprotected areas is one of the key initiatives that help us fulfill our mission of protecting elephants to conserve the greater Mara ecosystem.
The collaring took place on March 7 and went off without a hitch thanks to our partner Dr. Limo (pictured left getting the dart ready) from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinarian unit. We were thrilled to have the donor, along with his daughter, join us during the operation. We were also joined by Guy Western from South Rift Association of Land Owners that ran the team on the ground as well as KWS rangers Moses and Bosco.
Julia was successfully darted at 10:44 A.M. and was asleep by 11:02 A.M. The collar went on quickly despite the precarious position she landed in, measurements were taken, and she was back up by 11:16 A.M. All in all, a very successful collaring. MEP is now collecting valuable movement data and monitoring Julia remotely via the Save The Elephants app.
MEP C.E.O. Marc Goss getting the collar in place with the help of rangers and Dr. Limo.
Donor support for activities like this are essential to MEP. The safety of this elephant and her herd are now secure thanks to the generous support from our donor. A special thank you to Tropic Air Kenya for spreading the word about the work MEP does in the Mara and getting our donor there safely.
Our donor and his daughter in the chartered Tropic Air helicopter rode along with Dr. Limo for the collaring.