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 December 2018 DSWT Aerial Report - 1/2/2019
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Activities for the Aerial Unit throughout December were largely dominated by Human-Wildlife Conflict cases along with veterinary treatments. As is often the case in December and the green season, the focus shifts away from illegal activities and towards elephant activity outside of the Parks due to the planting season within the communities adjacent to National Parks and protected area boundaries.  With the onset of the rains, which are usually at the beginning of November, but were delayed this year, those that often are involved in illegal activities within the Park look to return home to plant crops on their small holdings. Unfortunately, elephants sometimes also leave protected areas and can find themselves on farmland amidst human settlements. They are not always after crops, but when they do wander onto farms, they can do huge amounts of damage in a relatively short amount of time. For this reason, the Trust devotes a considerable amount of energy and resources to pushing them back into the protected areas and out of danger. This serves to keep the elephant out of danger, but also buys extensive goodwill from communities who suffer loss of crops on a yearly basis, and sometimes even life when forced to protect their farms. 

As has become an annual pattern, a large congregation of elephants collected on and around farmland at the foot of the Sagalla Hills near Voi in December. The helicopter, with some assistance on the ground, was able to push the herd into neighbouring Sagalla Ranch; however, in the process, the pilot noticed one of the elephants with a suspected arrow wound on its flank. The Trust’s Cessna 206 was immediately sent to Amboseli to collect the Mobile Veterinary Officer Dr. Kariuki in the absence of Dr. Poghon who was on leave. The treatment was successful, and the elephant has a good prognosis for a full recovery. Several other vet treatments also popped up in December requiring aerial assistance to get the Amboseli Vet on site.

In addition to these vet treatments, the Aerial Unit was also involved in two rescues of elephant calves which were airlifted by helicopter to the Trust’s Nursery to be cared for, whilst the DSWT helicopter was also instrumental in a multi-organisation operation to rescue a KWS ranger who had been struck by a wild rhino while out on Patrol in the Chyulu Hills National Park on the morning of 20th December. 

You can read all about these stories and more in our monthly Aerial Report:

   

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