Aerial Surveillance Report for May 2019

Published on the 25th of June, 2019

Throughout May, the Aerial Unit was occupied primarily with cases of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the communities surrounding the Tsavo Conservation Area. The helicopter attended to a total of 11 separate HWC callouts; some of these instances involved our fixed wing aircraft scouting ahead to first locate the herds of elephant. Moving elephants back into protected areas is challenging work!

Fortunately, there was very little illegal activity sighted during the month of May. Nine charcoal kilns were observed from the air; only 2 of these were inside the Parks, whilst the others were all on ranches bordering the Park.

A fixed wing aircraft was called out to respond to a possible gunshot that was heard in Tsavo West, near the Tanzania border, but after a thorough search of the area, nothing was found. There were also livestock and livestock enclosures discovered in the process and coordinates of these were supplied to KWS for further action.

Only one elephant carcass was discovered in May and it was an old carcass with ivory still intact, believed to have died from natural causes. Two elephants were also treated during the month with help from the Aerial Unit.

The veterinarian gave both elephants a good prognosis. Despite regular patrols, including helicopter-deployed foot patrols by our K9 unit, no fresh poaching activity was found. This is an encouraging sign and a trend that we hope continues even as things start to dry off.

Another success story during the month was the rescue of the two little buffalo calves. One calf was picked up from Gazi by the SWT helicopter pilot and the other one came from Mtito by vehicle; both are now in good hands at our Kaluku Field HQ.