MEP, MES & KWS Join to Patrol the Shimba Hills Ecosystem

Mara Elephant Project has teamed up with the Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary (MES) to implement ranger tracking and elephant monitoring. MES is Kenya’s first Community Conservancy established in 1991 on the Kenyan coast and forms part of the Shimba Hills Ecosystem alongside the Shimba Hills National Reserve.

In 2021, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), MEP and MES collared two elephants Dicki and Gina as a first step to understanding conflict and movement between the conservation areas and the southern Tsavo Ranches. MES ranger Suleiman came to MEP in early August to learn how MEP tracks rangers and assets with the EarthRanger system to better monitor elephants in the Shimba Hills Ecosystem with his new Kibo motorbike. Suleiman is currently patrolling with his fellow rangers and KWS to note any elephant or wildlife activity, remove snares or fishing traps and arrest anyone partaking in bushmeat poaching or illegal habitat destruction activities.

MES ranger Suleiman during a morning roll call photo.

On August 7, the team removed one snare and an illegal fishing trap in the Manolo River. The team also noted elephant activity in the area. On August 9, they sighted four elephants on their patrol route, then the next day they arrested one suspect in possession of warthog meat and removed illegal fishing traps in the Manolo River. On August 14, they noted buffalo activity and the next day found an illegal logging and charcoal operation site and elephants nearby. The next day there was more fresh elephant activity as indicated by elephant dung while on patrol. On August 18, they removed more illegal fishing traps in the river and the next day monitored a herd of elephants, one appearing to have an injury.

All of this data being collected is assembled in MEP’s EarthRanger system and will help inform future deployments in this area alongside MES and KWS to increase protection for wildlife inside the conservancy.