Despite the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the global economy, Mara Elephant Project is humbled by the support so many passionate individuals have shown to our organization. During a time of increased instability, you have all provided our organization with the stability we need to continue to protect the Mara’s wildlife, communities and habitat.
We must start with a donation of $78,000 from the estate of Mary and Maurice Woulfe. Mary was passionate about conservation and unfortunately passed away in early 2020. She wanted her legacy to focus on the protection of elephants and MEP is honored to be able to fulfill that for her through this donation. We also received a donation from Lori Price of $62,000 to support the new Loita ranger team and the grow bags project. At the recommendation of John Dillow, long-time friend and supporter of MEP, we received a grant of $7,500 from the J E Fehsenfeld Family Foundation to support our core operations. Elephant Cooperation supported MEP with a donation of $2,400 that went directly to increase the flying time for the helicopter during the COVID-19 crisis. Creatura Wildlife Projects donated $3,000 toward core operations. We are also very grateful to Sue Anschutz-Rogers for her continued support that provided $50,000 towards the cost of the helicopter, which we are having to use more during the COVID restrictions.
We received several generous donations of seed balls from donors through Seedballs Kenya. A generous donor supported the purchase of 800 kg of seed balls from Seedballs Kenya worth $5,000 that were distributed in the Mau Forest. In addition to this large donation, we had more donations totaling 100 kg of seed balls from Seedballs Kenya to distribute. Thank you to Lisa Perez, Margaret Filip and Katrina for your support of this partnership to regreen the Mara. Elephanatics hosted a fundraiser for MEP selling elephant-themed wine. The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year has launched an online auction platform selling beautiful images to raise much-needed funds for boots-on-the-ground conservation organizations in the Mara, like MEP. The Angama Foundation is ensuring 50% of all proceeds goes to the competition’s conservation partners so buyers can be assured that their funds are working to protect the Mara for generations to come. We also had many great entries in the Greatest Maasai Mara photo competition in the second quarter, thank you for supporting us!
An April entry from Roisin Allen in the GMM photo competition.
Two tour operators highlighted MEP in April. Elevate Destinations mentioned MEP in a blog and The Explorations Company released their annual charity guide, which features two pages on MEP. Photographer Klaus Tiedge, who passed away in 2019, produced a documentary about his final trip to the Mara in 2018 that featured Mara Elephant Project. MEP was mentioned in Bloomberg’s Daily Daydream about the Best African Safari Adventure and Mary Holland spent time in the Mara recently and wrote a great article for Condé Nast Traveler about the effect of COVID-19 on tourism and Kenya’s tourism industry. It not only features a mention of MEP, but also many of our partners.
Marc Goss went live on Facebook with The Nobelity Project for an hour-long conservation talk about MEP. Terra Conservation released a two-part podcast featuring Marc and Dr. Jake Wall. In the series, Terra highlights the stories of wildlife rangers on the frontlines of the fight against poaching, how technology is being used to support their efforts and what life is like for those who are creating sustainable economies for the vulnerable and at-risk populations who are protecting Earth’s most precious resources. An article from The Guardian featuring Mara Elephant Project’s rapid response to human-elephant conflict in Ol Kinyei Conservancy alongside head ranger Simon Nkoitoi. Marc is featured discussing the use of the KBCT helicopter to move elephants out of settlements and the challenges that come along with that. Additionally, we were featured in Corporate Knights magazine discussing COVID-19 and how it’s impacting conservation. MEP’s Communications Director Claire Bolles and Trustee Trey Fehsenfeld presented at the Indianapolis Zoo for their Conservation Educator Academy. Afterwards, the elephant Conservation Station kiosk was unveiled at the Indy Zoo as part of their new elephant Tembo Camp. It features a video on MEP and the Indy Zoo’s supported elephant Vasco. We continue to value the relationship between MEP and the Indianapolis Zoo.
The Conservation Station at the Indy Zoo.
Finally, Paradise International Foundation, Jack Ma’s conservation organization, gave a generous donation of 20,000 surgical masks, 400 N95 medical masks and 100 infrared thermometers to support healthcare worker’s efforts at six partner medical facilities across the Maasai Mara, and the wider Narok West sub county: Aitong Health Center, Mararianda, Nkoilale, Olesere, Endoinyio Erinka and Talek. The Maa Trust supplemented these supplies with boots, protective overalls and on June 10, Mara Elephant Project joined them to hand over this essential COVID-19 PPE equipment to the Ministry of Health and Community Health Partners at Talek Clinic. pictured left: MEP CEO Marc Goss, MEP Data and Reporting Manager Wilson Sairowua and The Maa Trust CEO Crystal Mogensen along with Talek Clinic representatives.