Mara Elephant Project had many exciting opportunities in the third quarter of 2019. In the third quarter, three of MEP’s new collared elephants were supported by grants. First, was the large bull in the Mau Forest named Maximus supported by WildAid and second a large bull in the Mau Forest named Vasco supported by the Indianapolis Zoological Society. The Indianapolis Zoo wrote a wonderful blog about why it’s vital for them to partner with organizations like MEP, you can read it here. They also hosted MEP Trustee Trey Fehsenfeld on September 21 for a presentation to their wildlife conservation club. All of the teens and their families were really engaged with the presentation by Trey and we continue to enjoy doing partnership work with organizations like the Indy Zoo that have been generous enough to support our work.
MEP Trustee Trey Fehsenfeld presenting at the Indy Zoo in September.
The collar fit to elephant Fitz sponsored by Angama Foundation.
The Karen Blixen Camp Trust continues to be a key supporter for MEP as we took delivery of the helicopter on the 24th of June and have since flown this vital asset for collaring operations, elephant treatments and human-elephant conflict mitigation. The new helicopter is owned by the Karen Blixen Camp Trust who believe in the work the helicopter can do for wildlife conservation. The registration of the helicopter is 5Y-MEP and it is painted British Racing Green which was the 2017 Robinson Helicopter Company color of that year. 5Y-MEP is running beautifully and seems to have a lot of power.
An amazing photo taken by Adam Bannister of the KBCT MEP helicopter.
In terms of fundraising, we must highlight 10-year-old Max from Kenya (pictured left). Max attends The Banda School in Nairobi and raised over $8,300 for Mara Elephant Project rangers through an appeal he sent to his classmates and friends. Max is the son of Hilary Hurt, a former MEP Trustee, and Nicholas Sadron. Since Max is a resident of Kenya and his Mom and Dad are familiar with MEP, he came to the Mara to visit the project and spent some time with the rangers. Max got to see what they do first-hand in the field, and they thanked him for his fundraising efforts. Max also got the opportunity to go out with MEP CEO Marc Goss to the Mau Forest. We also received a matching donation of $7,000 from MEP Trustee Beatrice Karanja which was in celebration of Max’s efforts to raise money for MEP rangers bringing the total raised to $15,300. Thank you to Max and everyone who supported his efforts!
Max visited MEP HQ and rangers got to thank him in person.
MEP celebrated World Elephant Day on August 12 and combined with World Ranger Day on July 31 we raised over $12,500 in support of MEP rangers and helicopter flying time. Thank you to Frani, Rita Cabases and Mustafa for all celebrating their birthdays by supporting MEP on Facebook. We raised $2,978.15 on Facebook during the third quarter. The direct mail campaign that Mara Elephant Project began in March will continue until the end of the year into 2020. We’re happy to report we raised a total of $45,118 for core operations. We had many wonderful entries in the Greatest Maasai Mara photo competition in the third quarter. Thank you to everyone who supported MEP in this way in 2019. In total MEP raised $77,745 through individual donors in the third quarter.
An entry in the GMM photo competition in July by Julien Bundun supporting MEP.
The big fundraising news for September is that MEP CEO Marc Goss and Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Jake Wall embarked on a tour of the US meeting with key current supporters of Mara Elephant Project and initiating new relationships. We would like to personally thank Lori Price for all of her hard work to put on an exceptional dinner party in Washington DC. We also would like to thank Vulcan, Google, Wildlife Conservation Network and Terra Conservation for hosting us. Finally, a special thank you to the Angama Foundation who donated The Greatest Maasai Mara wildlife photographs for two events in Texas and for Turk Pipkin from The Nobelity Project who hosted us in Austin, Texas and Khashana Travel in Dallas, Texas. We think this two-week trip will be a great way for MEP to expand our organization and fulfill some fundraising objectives.
Marc and Jake with Sidekick Foundation Executive Director Brian Kearney-Grieve at Grand Central Station in NYC.
Additionally, we also received a check from the Intel Foundation which is donating a percentage of the receipt of sales of their staff range of clothing and other items. Intel supports African wildlife conservation through innovative AI technology. Their newest Expedition Collection celebrates that innovation with one-of-a-kind merchandise and all proceeds will be donated to African wildlife conservation, including the Mara Elephant Project! Originally previewed exclusively for Intel employees in May, the collection is now available online! Shop the Intel Store’s Expedition Collection today at http://bit.ly/2JFv0DC. Thank you, Intel, for supporting MEP!
Mara Elephant Project was featured on CGTN Africa on July 23 speaking about our human-elephant conflict mitigation strategies. Amy McConaghy visited MEP HQ and spent the day with Tracking Manager Wilson Sairowua and rangers. Adam Bannister featured MEP in a piece on the Angama Mara blog that received a lot of attention on their social media feeds. Emmy winning videographer Matt Mays and Bob Poole visited MEP in August to update the MEP Overview Video newly titled Conflict to Co-Existence. You will find this new video on our website. This also resulted in an updated MEP pamphlet to reflect an updated look and strategy for the organization.
On July 16, Mara Elephant Project had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of two brand new toilet facilities at the Ngosuani Primary School during a ceremony that took place on school grounds. The toilet blocks, which MEP donated to the school, are built from re-purposed shipping containers and provide a safe and healthy environment for the boys and girls attending the school. MEP believes that by investing in the communities that coexist with wildlife in ways like this we are also fulfilling our mission of protecting the Mara’s elephants and habitat. pictured left: Marc officially opening the first toilet block.
MEP hosted a group of young teens from China at MEP HQ on July 22 thanks to Richard’s Camp and had groups in from Karen Blixen Camp and Elephant Pepper Camp in July. MEP hosted journalist Roberta Stanley at MEP HQ for two days to cover Mara Elephant Project operations and interview Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Jake Wall. Mark Fitzsimmons visited MEP HQ and took some amazing photos during his time at MEP. He’s running a fundraiser to support MEP, learn more here. MEP hosted a group from Karen Blixen Camp in August and had the pleasure of hosting Nicky Fitzgerald the owner of Angama Mara.
Finally, we’re pleased to announce that on July 31, MEP Sergeant Dickson Njapit won a 2019 African Ranger Award given out annually by the Paradise International Foundation. Dickson started at MEP in 2011 and has risen to the rank of sergeant. He leads the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mau De-Snaring Unit in the Mau Forest and was responsible for training the new team in early 2018. Dickson has an exemplary track record, is a role model for all rangers and is an ambassador in the Maasai community. Congratulations Dickson!