Mara Elephant Project kicked off the second quarter by participating in the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos, Lions and Other Endangered Species in Nairobi, Kenya. MEP not only participated; we were one of the key sponsors for the event. MEP CEO Marc Goss along with MEP rangers Moses Lekekwar and John Sakaja, Tracking Manager Wilson Sairowua, Finance Officer Stanley Misoka and Trustee Moses Kamau marched to represent MEP (pictured left). Locally, the march aimed to create awareness about the importance of protecting Kenya’s wildlife by encouraging the message: No Market. No Trade. This is all pointing to the key conservation decisions being made in August at the CITES meeting in Geneva. CITES is the global treaty that regulates wildlife trade and many of the key decisions that directly affect the elephant population are made at the World Wildlife Conference. Legal markets for ivory undermine MEP’s efforts of protecting elephants and with that in mind, MEP along with other conservation organizations, government and concerned citizens in Kenya call for the closing of all legal ivory markets around the world. MEP was proud to participate in the Global March alongside our partners Kenya Wildlife Service, Wildlife Direct and other conservation organizations. The crowd was energized and came up with many chants and slogans and the colorful 4,000 plus people definitely turned heads across the city center as the march proceeded the 10 km from the National Museums of Kenya to the KWS HQ. It was an amazing experience for MEP!
The MEP team marching in Nairobi.
Our operational teams received a huge boost from a long-time supporter Lori Price and the Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), an initiative launched by Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Their support has allowed MEP to increase patrol operations in the western portion of the ecosystem in the areas of Loita, Siyapei and Mosiro in the Rift Valley. This area continues to be a concern for elephant security and their presence will go a long way to improving security. In addition to this funding, MEP received notice from Paradise International Foundation that they will be supporting the protection of two collared elephants for three years and the operating costs of a rapid response vehicle. Pictured right: the new ECF Loita patrol vehicle.
The MEP Ranger School Fees Facebook Fundraiser raised $2,350 with 35 people who donated online and one of MEP’s long-time supporters contributed another $5,000 to ensure we met our goal of close to $7,500, which was then matched by a grant awarded to MEP last month from the JE Fehsenfeld Foundation. This means MEP has fully funded the 2019 Ranger School Fees program! Thank you to everyone for their support!
On April 22, MEP celebrated Earth Day by distributing seed balls from Seedballs Kenya with famous Chinese actress, singer and photographer Jiang Yiyan (pictured left). It was a pleasure hosting her and we thank everyone for the seed ball donations that continue to come in for MEP. On June 8, MEP CEO Marc Goss meet a group of wildlife photographers that were in town for a Wild Escapes photo competition that benefitted MEP. We were excited to collect a check for $4,000 to support MEP’s core operations. We appreciate the support from Wild Escapes and all of the photographers that participated.
The MEP direct mail campaign is still on-going in the U.S. with just over $45,000 in donations received by the end of June. The campaign comes to an end in July and final numbers on this will be available by the end of July.
In terms of media coverage, MEP had an exciting second quarter when the BBC Two series, Equator from the Air, aired in the UK on May 26 with the first episode featuring Mara Elephant Project. Additionally, the Daily Mail picked up on the story told during the episode about two elephant treatments MEP assisted with and featured MEP in an article the following Monday. All of this is great media exposure for Mara Elephant Project.
Finally, there continues to be amazing entries coming into The Greatest Maasai Mara photography competition supporting MEP. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition with their amazing photographs! In the second quarter, MEP raised $13,050 from individual donors. Thank you to these individual donors for supporting MEP’s mission, their contribution will go directly to our mission of protecting elephants in the Mara. Facebook continues to be a great place to support our organization on a grassroots level. In the first quarter, $960 was raised by MEP through Facebook. We thank you and all of our other donors for their generous support of our work.
An entry from Margaret Bishop featuring MEP collared elephant Kegol.