Mara Elephant Project rangers were busy during the third quarter responding to human-elephant conflict, arresting poachers, seizing ivory and shutting down other illegal activities. Pictured left: a MEP ranger on patrol looking down the Mara River. The MEP intelligence team continues to have success with arrests of suspects and ivory recovered. During the third quarter, the MEP intelligence unit along with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) arrested two suspects in possession of 17 kg of ivory. MEP intelligence was also involved in the arrest of one well-known individual in possession of eight round of ammunition, one AK47, three lion claws, lion canines and an elephant skin. MEP rangers also successfully confiscated 12 kg of bushmeat and arrested one suspect for bushmeat poaching.
An arrest of one person in possession of a pit saw in September.
In the Mau Forest, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Mau De-Snaring Unit were able to improve forest security by taking government officials to the areas where logging, farming and charcoal production continue in the forest. This spurred a larger operation to evict these illegal users/exploiters of the forest. In the third quarter, the SWT Mau De-Snaring Units recovered a total of 720 pieces of cedar (pictured right: one arrest and seizure in July), 11 sacks of charcoal, 11 poison arrows and one pit saw. They also arrested a total of nine suspects for illegal logging, charcoal production, possession of poison arrows and a pit saw. Finally, they removed 63 snares and destroyed nine kilns. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has agreed to fund a second team in the Mau Forest to conduct anti-poaching patrols which will increase our area of coverage in the Mau, which is in need of more protection. We expect to operationalize this team before the end of this year.
Illegal logging is not only rampant in the Mau but also areas like Loita and Nyakweri. In Loita, the MEP ranger unit recovered a total of 12,610 cedar posts, 10 podo posts and arrested one suspect in the third quarter. In the Transmara/Nyakweri, our rangers destroyed 51 kilns and confiscated five sacks of charcoal. We are keeping up patrols heavily in this area.
One of the illegal post seizures of the third quarter.
MEP rangers responded to 43 cases of human-elephant conflict in the third quarter. Most of the incidents were properly diverted using vehicles, firecrackers, chili powder pods or in extreme cases, the Karen Blixen Camp Trust helicopter.
In July, MEP rangers covered a distance of 5,077 km on foot, 28,816 km by car and 2,460 km on motorbike. A new patrol vehicle funded by Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), an initiative launched by Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is newly deployed in the field allowing the Loita team to cover a great distance in the third quarter.
The new ECF vehicle deployed in Loita.
Please keep MEP rangers in mind during your holiday giving plans. For $2,400 you can support the salary of one MEP ranger in 2020 and don’t miss the Amazon Smile Wish List packed with essentials that help them do their job in the field.