Mara Elephant Project had great support from donors and partners in the second quarter. MEP relies heavily on a variety of Garmin products to ensure our rangers are fully equipped to make them safer and more efficient in the field. Each MEP ranger unit is equipped with a Garmin inReach mini, which is a small lightweight satellite communicator that allows them to relay important information back to MEP HQ. It works completely off the grid, which is great for our ranger units stationed deep inside forested areas like the Mau or Loita. This device also has location tracking, and coordinates of each of our ranger units is relayed regularly and can be seen in real-time on an interactive map located at HQ or using Garmin’s Montana 700i or GPSMAP 276Cx devices remotely. Garmin’s quatix watch is also worn by MEP rangers while in the field to easily record a GPS log of their location and mark locations, such as an illegal logging site, for reference in the future. These watches also allow rangers to leave a “bread crumb” trail while patrolling in densely forested areas, so they won’t get lost or separated. The watch is also worn by CEO Marc Goss while piloting the MEP helicopter. Garmin devices have become an essential part of MEP’s operations and allow our rangers to focus on protecting wildlife, communities and habitat in the GME, which is why we’re grateful to Garmin Denmark for their generous donation to MEP of these essential products.
MEP received a donation of 100 kg of seedballs from Seedballs Kenya thanks to Explorers Against Extinction. This donation included over 50,000 Olea africana (olorien) seedballs for MEP to distribute around degraded forests in Narok County (pictured left). MEP also received amazing donations from supporters through our Amazon Wish List. In June alone, we received boots, socks, LifeStraws and backpacks for rangers and a medical kit for a ranger team. We also received four books for the research department. Each item is essential to ranger’s success while protecting elephants.
Items from MEP’s Amazon Wish List generously donated.
Thank you to all of the donors who have given through this list. Wildlife photographer James Lewin supported MEP in May by donating 20% of the proceeds from the sale of his print Instinct. This work, alongside others, was available at Isabella Garrucho Fine Art in the U.S. and Cricket Fine Art in the UK. This photo was taken in the Maasai Mara in 2020. Thank you to James for supporting MEP’s work.
James Lewin Photography – Instinct
MEP received a total of $372,938.63 in donations in the second quarter through the Sidekick Foundation, Inc. MEP Kenya Trust received a total of $28,374.59 in donations, which included a disbursement from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust per the grant agreement and two donations, one over $5,000 total from donors through Benevity and over $500 from Föreningen Försvara Elefanterna. Thank you to long-time supporter of MEP, Lori Price for donating over $81,000 in support of the Loita ranger units in 2021 and another donation of $60,520.77 for MEP’s Shimba Hills project. MEP also received the second payment of a 12-month $25,000 grant from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and support for our new experimental farm from Ana Ines Goni Boracco. Thank you to the Leslie Alexander Foundation for their quarterly support of $25,000 as well as Mary Love for her significant multi-year gift. In addition, thank you to Maxine Beige, Glynis Burgdorff Family Charitable Fund and Steven & Herma Brenneis, which were generously given our information from Angama Mara, as well as Virginia Hardy and Meredith Garrett who supported the salary of one of our female rangers for one year.
Additional thanks to Robert Isackson, Tom Lyons, Jane Wylie, Glynis Burgdorff, Dan Kimbrough, Elise Kline, Linda Quest, Lucy Schott, Mary Vero, Keith & Corinne Bentley, Gary & Mary Pinkus, Michael Burke, Jonathan Coe, Julius Cain, Richard Kuenne, Jane Wylie, Donna Barlow, William Filsinger (Shannon Alayne Mathews Trust), Barbara Finck, Sandra Muscillo, Debra Shearer (Cherokee Shearer Foundation), Helena Van Dierendonck and Lois Vaughan, Deborah Lichliter, Carolyn Sunny Shine, Deborah Fagas, Joan Balitch, Carmen Cappadona, Kathleen Hamilton, Margaret Hennell, Richard Honeyager, Elizabeth Hyatt, Richard Litkenhaus, Marcy Mackinnon, Kenneth Parks, Steven Petak, Nancy Schmitt, Margaretta Taylor, William Van Buren and Joseph Davison for your support as well in the second quarter. We continue to receive our direct mail monthly transfer of $41,200 from the donors based on the success of that campaign. We had eight birthday fundraisers on Facebook during this reporting period amounting to $3,244.99 in donations to MEP via Facebook.
We also had many great entries in the Greatest Maasai Mara photo competition to support MEP in the second quarter. Thank you to these photographers: Andy Campbell, Clair Nicol, William Fortescue, Tracy Miller, Thorsten Hanewald, Nirav Shah, Pragnesh Patel, Laura Dyer. Edouard Wenseleers, Anne Garcia, Roisin Allen, Talib Almarri, Kathy Karn, Riz Jiwa, Fahad Alshammari, Tracy Miller, Thorsten Hanewald, Mark Boyd, Luca Bredt, Gurcharan Roopra, Minal Peshavaria, Dhir Jakharia, Samuel Vasell, Laura Harley, Camilo Serrano, Miller Harrison, Kathy Karn, Prakash Sujir, Mark Boyd, Jose Fragozo, Anne Garcia, Felix Rome, Clair Nicol and Tracy Miller.
In May, we launched our 10th (Kumi) Anniversary Campaign and sent information packets to loyal donors who has helped support MEP’s success over the last 10 years. As this milestone quickly approaches in September, we are asking MEP champions to donate to strengthen, build and grow our decade of success.
In terms of media mentions for MEP in the second quarter, we are participating in Vulcan’s Conservation Technology Award, which will be granted to two conservation tech innovators in 2021. The grants are $15,000 each and Jake Wall – MEP’s Director of Research & Conservation – will be sitting on the grant panel to review applications. We are really excited about this opportunity! MEP’s Chairman Colin Church was well remembered in an article from The Telegraph published in May. Photojournalist David Chancellor included MEP in a National Geographic piece and MEP was mentioned in a China Daily article in June.
MEP celebrated Mother’s Day in the U.S. and Endangered Species Day abroad with our supporters. Thank you to everyone who celebrated Earth Day alongside us. We kicked off June by celebrating Madaraka Day in Kenya. MEP has over 70 Kenyan team members that celebrated in the Maasai Mara and Nairobi. Later that week, we celebrated World Environment Day and Diamond Trust Bank posted about MEP’s work to show their support, thank you. The MEP LTM team participated in a trash clean up around a nearby community on World Environment Day.
The MEP LTM team on World Environment Day.
We also participated in the inaugural World Female Ranger Day and highlighted MEP’s four female rangers: Caren, Fancy, Gloria and Purity. Governor’s Camp Collection posted about our female rangers as well in support, thank you. Angama Foundation and MEP posted a blog featuring collared elephant Fitz and the important work being done to protect him, his herd and their habitat. Finally, we hosted kids from a nearby school program on campus who joined Wilson to learn more about MEP and conservation issues in the area.
Wilson presenting to the school kids at MEP’s HQ.