Published on the 12th of January, 2017
The much-needed rains, which began in November, continued through most of December across much of Tsavo, although they were late in areas around Voi. Many parts of Tsavo received heavy downpours, especially the Chyulu Hills, the northern part of Tsavo West, the Tsavo Triangle, the Yatta Plateau and Ithumba. These areas, unsurprisingly, all witnessed high concentrations of elephants at various times during the month. Thankfully towards the end of December the southern sector of Tsavo East received some heavy rain along the Galana river and southwards.
Illegal activities remained relatively low, with livestock incursions being the major observation. Contrary to expectations, the rains did not draw herders away from the Park in Tsavo West. Despite efforts by KWS to remove them, the numbers of livestock actually increased in Tsavo West, with over 30,000 head of livestock counted during a requested survey by KWS.
The major emerging challenge has been human-wildlife conflict (HWC). In December three attempts were made by the helicopter to move elephants out of community land and back into the Chyulu Hills NP. Of these attempts, two were successful, however, on a third occasion, a lone bull was pushed up to the boundary of the Park but panicked when it reached the threshold, not realising that the electric fence had been removed.
Our efforts to keep charcoal burning under control in Gazi has so far been successful with only a small number of kilns discovered during the month by aerial patrols. One flight by the helicopter revealed a charcoal burner’s camp, which was ambushed by the DSWT ground team and resulted in the arrest of 3 bush-meat poachers in possession of wire snares.
Three elephant treatments requiring aerial support also took place during December, two on the 12th and one Sky Vets case on the 15th. All cases were attended to by Dr. Ndambiri Ephantus of the DSWT funded Amboseli Mobile Veterinary Unit, as the Tsavo Vet Unit was on leave during the month.
Other highlights for the month included sightings of 6 rhino in Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West, wild dogs, a leopard in Gazi, and a number of large herds of elephants.
You can read about these activities and more in our monthly Aerial Report: