Published on the 14th of April, 2016
During March the DSWT Aerial Unit flower 135 hours covering a vast 19,000kms over the greater Tsavo Conservation Area in support of the Kenya Wildlife Service and protecting this precious ecosystem.
There were record high temperatures across Tsavo and much of Kenya during the month making it hot and extremely bumpy flying for the DSWT pilots. Whilst some waterholes remained with water and the Tiva River even flowed after some downpours further inland, much of Tsavo dried off. Elephants were widespread coming together in large herds towards the end of the month in anticipation of the rains. Regular patrols were carried out daily by the Trust air wing including attending to a number of elephant treatments as well as some orphaned baby elephant rescues.
Predictably as the land dried up the cattle began to move back into the park. In Tsavo East, the Trust aircraft kept up a daily watch on cattle movements, resulting in a coordinated operation by KWS management to remove cattle from the park. A number of baby elephant rescues also needed the support of the Trust aircraft, whilst 6 adult elephants were treated by the DSWT/KWS Mobile Vet Unit. Because of this effective and timely treatment all the elephants treated were given a good chance of recovery. One big bull was treated while ITV’s Mark Austin was following the DSWT’s field teams reporting live from Kenya making it possible for them to tell the story of the Trust’s long and important partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service in Tsavo.
Other significant sightings this month included two groups of wild dogs, both packs about 18-20 strong; Large numbers of vultures on a number of separate occasions were seen too, which is heartening, as over the years vultures have been suffering due to poisoning. We have been watching with interest the ongoing progress of the Standard Gauge Railway through Tsavo knowing that it will bring much confusion and conflict as migration routes have been compromised. Until the wildlife and particularly the elephants learn of the few underpasses along the line, times will be challenging and our aircraft and teams will need to help KWS with these predicted challenges.
You can read more about the Aerial Unit’s activities in our monthly report: