The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Fostering Map click
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found and the plight of elephants in that area.
Mgeno Ranch, Tsavo Conservation Area
The Tsavo Conservation area, encompassing an area of 60,000 square kilometres includes 3 National Parks, 2 Game Reserves, a National Reserve, ranches and unassigned community lands. Mgeno Ranch is one of the Ranches situated between the southern sector of Tsavo West and East National Parks. While predominently used for livestock, these ranches are often used as ancient migratory routes for the elephants travelling between the two National Parks.
The Tsavo Conservation Area is the main stronghold for wildlife in Kenya, and especially for Kenya's elephant population, which in Tsavo now numbers about 10,000 - 12,000, the largest single population left in the entire country. Although wild animals are distributed throughout other parts of the country, the Tsavo National Park is the only large area where they are accorded total protection and with its varied topography and differing habitats, it harbours a greater biodiversity of wildlife than any other Park in the world, since it is here that the Northern and Southern races of fauna just happen to occur.
The birdlife of Tsavo is unparalleled and all the spectrum of large mammals - elephant, buffalo, rhino, hippo, lion, leopard and even the endangered wild dogs are well represented in this area. The wise old Leaders of the great elephant herds must have watched with interest, and no doubt, understandable alarm, the changes wrought so rapidly within their domain by Western man; the Slave Caravans that traversed what was then only known as the Taru Desert, following the Galana River from the Coast to the hinterland, with others camping at the historic Buchuma waterholes, with their cargoes of chained humans, ivory and skins; the passage of the early Explorers, people like Krapf and Rebbman, the first Europeans to sight the snows of both Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya; Lord Lugard for whom Lugards Falls is named, Joseph Thomson, the first white man to pass through Masailand and many others. Then came the building of the railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria bringing the first survey parties, and later the construction teams, carving a trail through the elephants' hitherto untouched and unknown sanctuaries and watering places. It was the famous lions of Tsavo that challenged the progress of the railway at Tsavo Station, perpetrating a reign of terror that hampered work for several months as they dragged the hapless Asian workmen from bush barricades and tents, and devouring them within hearing of their comrades. They even feasted on some of their White Foremen who were snatched from rail trolleys and coaches. The lions of Tsavo still display some of the aggressive characteristics of their forbears and are very different to the lethargic Big Cats of the savannahs. In the tangle of thorny scrub vegetation that characterised this region at the turn of the century, the lions had to be tough to survive and also cope with larger prey such as buffalo and no doubt it was this battle for survival that has made them as fierce as lions are traditionally expected to be.
Tsavo and the conservation area is one of the last great wilderness bastions of the world, where Nature has ruled supreme since the dawn of time and where Elephant/Vegetation cycles and progressions have been allowed to proceed unhindered; where famous Naturalists such as David Sheldrick studied and understood the natural recycling role of elephants, that bring about the woodland to grassland cycles, then suffer a natural die-off (the myth of the Elephants' Graveyard) relieving the pressure on the vegetation and allowing the woodlands to gradually take hold again, enriched by the trees the elephants have planted in their dung. With these natural vegetational cycles, grazing species and browsing species proliferate or decline, depending upon whether grassland or bush dominate at the time, but the Tsavo region is large enough, and diverse enough, to provide sanctuary for all we hope in perpetuity.