November has been an extremely busy month for Mara Elephant Project.
We are continuing our ground patrols in the Mau Forest and with the permission of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), we collared two new elephants in the Narok Mau section of the forest. Our rangers spent three weeks tracking these two candidates to find a suitable area for a safe collaring. We chose one female within a herd of 50 elephants and one male that was with a group of other males crop raiding at night. The collaring operation was executed without incident and we have named the female elephant Nancy and the male elephant Wilber. The elephants in the Mau have already shown interesting movements very close to settlements. The collars and geo-fences will inform our ground team as to when the elephants move into farms so that we can mitigate the conflict in a timely manner.
Collaring Wilber in the Mau Forest.
In the Mau, we are concerned there is little to no connectivity between the eastern and western portion of the forest. Now that we have two collared elephants in the eastern Narok Mau section, we have proposed to KWS to collar two additional elephants in the western Kericho portion. We’ll keep you updated on this.
Giving Tuesday took place on November 28 and MEP participated with an email campaign, a Facebook campaign, an Instagram campaign and a blog highlighting the important work we’re doing with our partners in Kenya (The Maa Trust), Canada (Elephanatics) and the USA (Expert Drones). We’re happy to report these campaigns were successful in raising brand awareness and funds through MEP’s Donate page. MEP also received bronze accreditation from Guide Star and that has been indicated on our Donate page. If you’d like to help spread the word about MEP, please sign up for our newsletter, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram.
We had two notable arrests in November. Two suspects had 12 kilograms of ivory that was recovered by KWS based on MEP intelligence. There was also 10 kilograms of illegal bushmeat recovered in the Mau Forest and one suspect was arrested in a joint effort between KWS and MEP.
One suspect arrested with illegal bush meat in the Mau Forest.
MEP rangers covered almost 1,000 kilometers in November. We’ve greatly improved our wildlife sighting reporting system. Now, rangers are required to send pictures immediately via their mobile phone. This has meant we were able to record 1,106 elephant sightings in November.
Ranger patrol tracks from November.
We had nine incidents of human-elephant conflict (HEC) that required MEP mitigation. The good news is that we only had to use the helicopter to respond to one of those, meaning the rest were mitigated using firecrackers and vehicles. This helps significantly cut down on our helicopter flying time, which costs $400 an hour to operate. The collaring operation took a significant amount of flying time, so not having to respond to HEC in the helicopter helped us keep costs down.
As the holidays fast approach please keep MEP in mind for your year-end giving. Your money goes directly to the front line of protecting elephants to conserve the greater Mara ecosystem.