Published on the 15th of September, 2017
August began with some of the best news possible, while on patrol our Yatta Anti-Poaching Unit stumbled across the three missing elephant orphans, Kelelari, Dupotto and Karissa, who strayed from the Ithumba stockades two months earlier. In this time, the three young elephants had made their way up and over the Yatta Plateau and were taking water from the Athi River some 30 kilometres away in an area known as Gazi. Dupotto was eventually recaptured, whilst fortunately Karissa made his own way back some 2 weeks later. A decision was made to monitor Kelelari with the potential to allow him to remain wild, as he has shown he is ready for the transition whilst having the protection of wild herds and looking comfortable.
Another challenge during the month was dealing with livestock incursion. The KWS has recently ramped up efforts to tackle the issue and the DSWT was called upon to assist from the air, particularly to help in locating livestock and their enclosures so that rangers could work more efficiently on the ground.
Other jobs carried out by the helicopter in August included herding 8 problem elephants away from the town of Maungu where they had been causing damage to property, whilst also assisting with the successful treatment of an injured elephant and transporting a young elephant calf to the Nairobi Nursery
August has certainly brought some heartache as the drought begins to take its toll on elephants in the southern area of Tsavo East. A total of 12 carcasses were seen from the air during August whist others were also discovered on the ground by our anti-poaching teams, KWS rangers and tour operators. Only two carcasses discovered in August were poaching victims.
The one positive aspect of the drought for the Trust’s pilots was the increase in carnivore sightings. Several lion sightings, including a fresh giraffe kill, were made in August as well as a pack of 20 wild dogs hunting on Kishushe Ranch. Two new-born Rhinos were also sighted during the regular rhino aerial surveillance done together with KWS throughout the month, bringing the population of Rhinos in Tsavo east up to 15 and in Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary up to 85.
You can read more about these stories in our monthly report: