Re-Collaring Bull Elephant “Kegol”
Mara Elephant Project has a total of eight elephants that we’re working toward re-collaring in 2018. All of these at-risk elephants have collar batteries that only last three years and need to be replaced to ensure they and their herds are protected. Elephants Lucy, Hugo, Kegol, Chelsea, Caroline, Naibosho, Shorty, & Fred all currently have collars that provide data which is used daily to mitigate human-elephant conflict, inform ranger deployment and anti-poaching work, and promote transboundary cooperation within the wider ecosystem. The collar software also includes alarms for MEP to respond to elephant immobility and geo-fence breaches and streaks (when an elephant moves quickly potentially signifying it is in danger).
One of MEP’s collared elephants.
MEP’s approach of collaring, monitoring and researching elephants is a key component to ensuring we meet our mission objectives. Currently, MEP has 20 collared elephants that we monitor via Google Earth daily. While expanding our elephant collaring program is essential to MEP’s success, maintaining the current collars on key elephant subjects is equally as important. The candidates in need of a re-collaring are used to gather useful spatial data meaning they are elephants in border areas, areas of conflict or areas outside conservancies or national reserves. They also represent crop raiding elephants identified across the dispersal area and candidates that represent large herds. Then, there are elephants like Kegol who is known to crop raid and is also an old bull elephant at risk simply because of the size of his tusks.
So, were happy to announce that we successfully re-collared Kegol on January 29 with the help of Kenya Wildlife Service/David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust vet Dr. Limo and his team.
Dr. Limo with the KWS/DSWT Mara Mobile Vet Unit during the re-collaring of Kegol.
We’re happy to report the collaring went off without incident and that Kegol is off with his new collar that contains a new battery that will last another three years. Unfortunately, due to Kegol’s advanced age (we estimate 60 years) he had some trouble getting up so this will be the last time we collar Kegol.
Supporting MEP’s collaring, monitoring and research approach to protecting elephants is a key component to our mission.