Working Alongside Government Partners in MEP’s May Report

In May, Mara Elephant Project had the opportunity to support the Wildlife Research & Training Institute (WRTI) in two instances. MEP had the pleasure of presenting an update on our joint ongoing elephant monitoring efforts. WRTI and MEP are working together to integrate the EarthRanger software system and other conservation technology at their headquarters in Naivasha to aid Kenya’s efforts in addressing wildlife challenges. During the meeting, we discussed future plans for collecting, storing and effectively using Kenya’s wildlife data and collaborative efforts to communicate our efforts for maximum impact. We’re honored to work alongside government partners that are committed to protecting wildlife and wild spaces. MEP also participated in the launch for the National Wildlife Research Agenda (2023-2027) in Naivasha at WRTI headquarters. The aim of this agenda is to provide scientific, evidence-based information to support decision making while addressing today’s wildlife conservation and management challenges. Dickson Kaelo, chair of the board Research and Innovations Committee, reiterated on the “need to forge strong partnerships especially in implementing this national wildlife research agenda.” MEP will partner with WRTI to implement some of the agenda’s core seven research programs within the next four years.

The MEP helicopter was a key tool to support our partners in May with an elephant treatment and to monitor a newly collared elephant and help with a search for a missing person. On May 27, the MEP mobile ranger team received a report from the community that a bull elephant was limping heavily due to a wound on its left leg most likely caused by an arrow. The mobile team called in Kenya Wildlife Service Vet Dr. Njoroge from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mobile Vet Unit to treat the elephant in Mara Ripoi. CEO Marc Goss piloting the MEP helicopter assisted to push the elephant down a hill in and out of a thick bush for a more suitable treatment. The bull was successfully treated and we’re grateful for our partners involved in this operation. MEP rangers will continue monitoring the bull’s recovery.

Then, On May 12, a male elephant that MEP has identified as individual 159 was reported to have a spear wound that needed vet intervention. KWS Vet Dr. Njoroge with the SWT Mobile Vet Unit responded, and MEP’s long-term monitoring (LTM) team assisted with the treatment of the bull. We also deployed the MEP helicopter to provide aerial support to the ground teams. After a successful treatment, the bull was back on his feet. We continued to closely monitor him as he heals.

The MEP helicopter was used for an aerial monitoring flight to capture identification photos of newly collared elephant Gwen in the Shampole area. She was with her herd of 15 elephants, which included her young calf. KWS, WRTI and MEP previously collared another female elephant, Josephine, in this area to understand her distribution and react to conflict. Gwen was collared to add a second elephant’s movement data to better understand how they are moving between this area and the Loita Forest. Gwen was noted to be healthy, and her collar was in good condition

On the ground collared elephants Kiambi, Chelsea, and Matumaini were all monitored in May.

It was extremely wet in the Mara causing rivers in the area to crest their banks. Unfortunately, a truck driver was reported missing after his truck was swept away by the Mara River. MEP’s helicopter was called in and CEO Marc Goss joined the team to help locate the driver after searching from the air to retrieve the body. While never the outcome we hoped for, we were relieved we could play a small part in bringing solace to a grieving family. Our deepest sympathies to those affected during this difficult time.

MEP rangers efforts continued in May. Overall, they arrested one bushmeat poaching suspect alongside government partners, confiscated 30 kg of bushmeat and removed 19 snares. There were 10 habitat destruction suspects arrested alongside government partners, and 45 pieces of timber and 44 posts confiscated. MEP rangers destroyed 26 charcoal sacks and 34 kilns, they also mitigated 15 conflict incidents.

On the MEP Co-Existence Farm there was one elephant visiting the farm for close to seven days consecutively and predated on each of the five plots of cucumbers, butternut squash and sweet potatoes and one plot of maize surrounded by the ditch deterrent. Speaking of promoting co-existence, MEP Manager Wilson Sairowua was featured on Mayian FM in late May for a conversation about how MEP is working closely with local communities across the Mara. Thank you to everyone who tuned in.

Finally, the MEP family lost a key member of our herd recently. Brian Kearney-Grieve, otherwise known at MEP as “BKG”, left a legacy that remains today. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, Brian lifted not only MEP, but other organizations working to have a global impact for people, wildlife and the environment. Brian was given an Emeritus position on the Mara Elephant Project Trust.


MEP Monthly Report May 2023