Aerial Surveillance Report for January 2018

Published on the 31st of January, 2018

The focus during January was on patrolling and deploying rangers at water points around the Ithumba, Tsavo Triangle and Yatta areas.

Several old harbours and shooting blinds were discovered and destroyed during these patrols, whilst only one recent shooting platform was found between these areas and likewise destroyed. In Tsavo West, between the Tsavo River and Kishushe ranch, a harbour was found and 40 snares plus other equipment were confiscated.

There was a huge drop in the number of carcasses found compared to previous months. Only 3 carcasses were discovered in total, all of them old, most probably remaining from the large number of elephants that died in the latter part of last year due to the harsh drought conditions that devastated southern Tsavo East in particular. As with many of the carcasses found during the drought, the DSWT and KWS teams were able to recover the majority of tusks from the carcasses, before poachers could stumble upon them.

There were also a small number of veterinary treatments for elephants facilitated by the aerial team this month. The helicopter was involved in the darting and treatment of two elephants in the Amboseli ecosystem, one with a spear wound and another with an arrow wound. On another occasion one of the DSWT’s fixed wing aircrafts while on patrol sighted an injured bull elephant near Ithumba.

During January the pilots had several sightings of wild dogs, including one healthy pack of 40 individuals which was a highlight. There were also numerous sightings of leopard and lion, which is also very encouraging. Large herds of elephants were also enjoying the southern area of the Park once more with the dams still with water and the Park still green.