Category Archives: Environmental Education

Tracking Technology Deployed to Help Keep Giant Tusker from Crops

Nairobi September  16, 2016: One of Kenya’s largest tuskers has been fitted with a GPS tracking collar to allow Kenya Wildlife Service and their non-governmental partners to prevent him from raiding the farms surrounding Amboseli National Park.

Known as Tim, the iconic bull elephant has gained international fame on account of his tusks, but local notoriety because of his habit of entering farms in the Kimana area to feed to crops. The tracking collar gives rangers on the ground the ability to track the tusker’s movements and deploy into farmland areas when he approaches and chase him from the area using a variety of deterrents.

“We are committed to exploring effective methods to keep our communities safe while securing all of our elephants,” said Kitili Mbathi, Director General of KWS, who took part in the operation.

The 47 year-old bull has been monitored by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants since he was born in December 1969 to a cow named Trista. His grandmother was the matriarch Teresia, leader of Amboseli’s TD family. After the operation to fit his tracking collar, Tim began walking towards the Trust’s research centre, and spent a morning resting there.

“It will be wonderful to see his life in even finer detail now that his every move is being followed,” said Cynthia Moss, Founder of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

The tracking system developed and donated by Save the Elephants will allow rangers from KWS and Big Life to monitor his movements using mobile devices and a VHF tracking antenna. When Tim crosses a virtual line near farmland, an alert will also be sent to warn them to prepare for his arrival. The high-tech GPS tracking collar was made by Kenyan firm Savannah Tracking.
Nairobi, September 16th, 2016:

“Tim’s new collar should give rangers a crucial advantage in preventing conflict between farmers and this iconic elephant, while also helping us to understand how to plan landscapes to keep our two species apart,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants.

KWS and Big Life rangers will be on call 24 hours a day to respond. “Despite being injured twice while raiding farms, Tim seems unable to resist the temptation of ripe tomatoes. Now with a collar that shows us his location at any time, our problem animal control teams will be able to be one step of ahead of him and keep him away from farms. Another great example of technology enabling conservation,” said Big Life Director Richard Bonham.

WildlifeDirect raised the funds that will to support the KWS and Big Life Foundation ground teams.

“To collar a majestic wild animal so that he can live out his life in peace and safety is an unnatural act. To build fences where farms have been allowed to encroach on historic migration paths in order to protect the lives of both settlers and animals – those, too, are unnatural acts. But if that’s what it takes to protect our wildlife, I support and encourage all of it,” said WildlifeDirect’s Board Director Scott Asen.

 

About KWS – www.kws.org About Big Life – www.biglife.org

About WildlifeDirect – www.wildlifedirect.org

About Amboseli Trust for Elephants – www.elephanttrust.org

About Save the Elephants – www.savetheelephants.org

 

Download Press Release here

For More Information Contact:

Paul Gathitu – KWS Spokesperson +254 723 333 313

Frank Pope – Save the Elephants COO +254 725 777 552

 

Was this conflict or a pesticide in careless hands?

By Enoch Mobisa

One, two, three….twenty five we counted! I remember how difficult it was for me during my preparatory school days when I painfully counted the number of vultures lying on the ground in Maasai mara’s Siana group ranch area. Everyone suspects pesticide poisoning!

One of the 25 dead Vultures

One of the 25 dead Vultures


We were alerted on Friday that there has been yet another poisoning incidence in the Mara by Predator aware officers, our conservation partners on the ground. We immediately responded by driving there to witness and try establishing the possible cause of the deaths. On Sunday Morning, led by Mr. Sammy Nkoitoi, we got to the vulture massacre site and found a local police officer and Maasai Mara rangers already there. Together with these guys, we formed a team and after taking samples, we decided to gather the carcasses and destroy them. KWS Veterinary officer and the research team in Segenani joined us later on and took part in destroying the carcasses to avoid any chances of cross contamination. The samples have been taken for testing to establish the actual poison. Initially we had counted twenty one but as we set out to gather them, the local community members who were with us discovered four more, increasing the number to twenty five. A pink substance, which we suspect was used for poisoning was spilt on the ground next to the wildebeest carcass which was probably what the vultures fed on. Probably a predator may have fed on the wildebeest carcass as it was very well eaten; all the bones shattered beyond what the vultures would manage. According to the local people, it is suspected the poisoning was intended to kill the hyenas or lions that take people’s livestock. But on this occasion there was no particular conflict. It is not clear who did it.

Here we destroy the dead vultures by burning

Here we destroy the dead vultures by burning

The chief led the local youths to condemn the act and requested for support for awareness creation and education to mitigate any future poisoning. They all promised to keep monitoring the situation and incase they find any information leading to the establishment of the truth or any more deaths, they would inform us.

The Community is giving a hand in destroying the carcass

The Community is giving a hand in destroying the carcass

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