Mara Elephant Project and the PREPARED Project have been working together in the Maasai Mara to decrease elephant poaching; lower conflict between farmers and elephants; better understand the extent of elephant rangelands and how they are changing.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT
MEP was supported by PREPARED in May to conduct asset training for 21 Pardamat and Olkineyi rangers. The training focused on using specific assets, which the rangers need when working alongside MEP, but also while on regular deployment. The trainers were selected from current MEP staff including: one patrol medic, MEP’s CEO, intelligence warden, and tracking manager. During this training they learned about patrols and security; GPS and map reading; the WILD app; helicopter standard operating procedure; HEC standard operating procedure; patrol medic packages and weapons training.
With PREPARED support MEP has mapped geofences defining the western extent of the Mara ecosystem.
MEP has been supported by PREPARED to pilot the WILD app to track rangers and add patrol data using a smartphone. We have been populating WILD on a daily basis and plan to continue to use WILD to collect patrol data. Although we use WILD, we also have a dedicated GPS device which tracks ranger movements and are then downloaded when they return to base. These developments are enabling MEP to both better monitor the movement of patrols and plan patrols.
PREPARED’s support of eight rangers has not only allowed MEP to make more arrests, but also collect and compile data from all of our arrests.
Our combined efforts support the elephant collars we use that are, not only a scientific tool, but also a key conservation tool that includes immobility and geo-fence reporting. The single most useful contribution to the Mara Ecosystem Connectivity Report was MEP, Save The Elephants and PREPARED’s elephant collar data to define elephant rangelands. The report detailed elephant numbers, corridors, land use and density; poaching and HEC hotspots and drivers; proposed priority actions and recommendations. The report was well received and led to further developments with WWF and the Narok County government to hold the first spatial planning meeting at the end of July.
USAID’s PREPARED Project is an essential partner for MEP.