Mara Elephant Project just released the July report for 2018 that features the collaring of a new elephant in the southwestern portion of the Mau Forest, our second baby elephant helicopter rescue, more successes for the MEP intelligence unit and partnerships that continue to flourish.
In July, we are proud to report that we collared a female elephant in the southwest portion of the Mau Forest. Bettye, our new elephant, is a female in a herd of five and is sporting the latest Kevlar collar that will be more durable in the dense forest conditions. We now have one elephant on either side of the Mau Forest bottleneck and we are extremely interested in seeing if elephants go through this bottleneck to travel between the eastern and western part of the forest.
Collared elephant “Bettye” in the southwestern Mau Forest.
The MEP intelligence team continues to impress this month with gathering intelligence that led to the arrest of four ivory middlemen and the seizure of 48 kg of ivory. In addition to this accomplishment, the intelligence team has also employed three new intelligence gathering sources in Tanzania. In addition to these arrests, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) Mau Team was split up to cover more ground in the forest and is now deployed in both the Kericho area and the Emitik area. They recovered a total of 71 snares and seven illegal timber logs in July and we’re happy to report that there has been no poaching of elephants this month in the region.
Suspects arrested between Ewaso Ngiro and Lulunga near Narok Town.
On July 4, the Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari helicopter was in operation for 7 hours total on just that day to respond to an incident in Kericho in the Mau Forest and to transport a baby elephant rescued from the Mara to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi. This was our second pachyderm passenger in the helicopter when the baby needed to be transported in a timely manner because the mother had just passed of natural causes in Olkinyei Conservancy. The helicopter continues to be a vital tool to our organization.
A 4thof July baby elephant rescue from the Mara to the DSWT elephant orphanage in Nairobi. Our second pachyderm passenger in the R44 Robinson helicopter.
Late last year MEP received a grant from TUSK Trust of $50,000 in support of our work. We submitted our interim report this month and are happy to say that the money has been used to re-collar Caroline and Kegol (pictured left) as well as purchase two motorbikes that have allowed MEP rangers to map fences in the ecosystem to help MEP create virtual geo-fences, which helps with human-elephant conflict mitigation. The funding will also be used to run a chili fence workshop after the short rains in November and building 15 km of chili fences. Grants like this one from TUSK make a difference and allow MEP to protect elephants and the communities that live alongside them
We had a very exciting visit from the founder of Elephant Cooperation Scott Struthers (pictured right). This organization is based in California, USA and has a very similar objective to MEP’s core funder, the ESCAPE Foundation. They invest in project’s like MEP all around Kenya and beyond and are devoted to raising awareness about the African elephant crisis. MEP CEO Marc Goss hosted Scott and we are excited about a potential partnership.
Finally, a MEP intelligence ranger was awarded the Paradise International Foundation’s innagural African Ranger Award for 2018. The award is given to 50 rangers from across Africa who have excelled. The ranger won a prize of $3,000 and earned an invitation to attend the award ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa in August. MEP is not only sending the intelligence ranger but also the CEO and tracking manager to Cape Town in August. We are excited to visit South Africa to celebrate this great acknowledgement of our intelligence ranger’s work.