On June 11, at the request of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Mara Elephant Project joined an expert team to collar a male elephant in the Sachangwan area Mt. Londian forest block of the extensive Mau Forest Complex in Molo, Nakuru. The collar was supported by MEP partner Save The Elephants. This portion of forest is no longer connected to the larger contiguous Mau Forest Complex; however, that doesn’t diminish the important need to protect it. Illegal loggers, and bushmeat poachers threaten this area and its wildlife inhabitants and KWS has ground teams based in Nakuru that are reacting to conflict incidents regularly. KWS vets Dr. Limo and Dr. Rono assisted with the collaring and the Karen Blixen Camp Trust helicopter was vital to the operation in the dense forest.
The new elephant, Ritan, is named after Dickson Ritan, the KWS Assistant Director for the Central Rift Valley. Ritan’s tracked movements will now allow MEP and KWS to rapidly respond to increased human-elephant conflict in the area and collect important data for future land use planning. Already, Ritan has been crop raiding in the Molo area and KWS rangers nearby have been using the collar data to respond.