Although there were livestock incursions in both Tsavo East and West this month, the greatest amount of time and effort was spent addressing livestock incursions along the Tiva River, an operation which KWS began the previous month.
Only 3 incidences of Human-Elephant Conflict were reported to us in August resulting in elephants being pushed by helicopter back into the park and out of harm’s way in all three cases. Several bushfire callouts were also responded to by fixed wing and helicopter providing surveillance over active fires. Fortunately, the Park was spared from one particular fire burning up into the precious cloud forest when it came to an abrupt stop against a new 22+ km firebreak road, which was recently constructed by SWT. Charcoal activity was notably absent throughout most of the protected areas that we patrol, with the exception of 2 charcoal kilns observed in the Chyulu Hills which were later destroyed by ground teams.
There were a number of veterinary cases attended to and assisted by the SWT aircraft. While the majority of cases we attend to involve elephants, this month a tragic report came in from Kuku Ranch on the western side of the Chyulus about a pride of lions, which had been poisoned by Masai cattle herders.
One elephant carcass was discovered in August a young female elephant that had died of suspected natural causes (post mortem carried out by Voi Mobile Vet Unit).
With regard to poaching activity, the Aerial Unit enjoyed good success in August. The team was also able to follow tracks to a largescale illegal mining operation in the park and arrested 3 offenders. On another helicopter patrol, signs of recent honey harvesting were spotted and bushmeat poaching in the area. On yet another occasion one of our helicopter pilots spotted 3 men running out of the park after locating a fresh hardwood cutting site. Numerous hideouts and campfires were located during other fixed wing and helicopter patrols; however, these were mostly old activity as opposed to fresh/active.
On the 25th of August we responded to an emergency after reports of an air crash in the Chyulu Hills. Our helicopter medevac’d the Injured pilot and passenger to The Aga Khan hospital. Some highlights from the month included yet more wild dog sightings as well as the usual big cat sightings, including a lovely large male leopard on the Tsavo River.