Published on the 27th of March, 2015
Deep into the dry season this month the Aerial Unit has been busy working in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service in providing security over the greater Tsavo Conservation Area – this month even patrolling as far as the Kenya-Tanzania border where two elephants carcasses were sighted, evidence showing they had been killed by Tanzanian poachers.
The Aerial team was also involved in several elephant treatments during February, of which four had been wounded by poison arrows and one by a firearm. KWS Veterinary Officers seconded by the DSWT were on hand to ensure these elephants had prompt and skilled treatment.
The DSWT pilots continued with ongoing monitoring across the Northern Area of Tsavo East NP assisting KWS rangers’ foot patrols. The waterholes had dried up by early February which meant very few shooting blinds were found as a result; although unexpectedly one day in mid-February the heavens opened and this rainfall refilled many of the waterholes, bringing a welcome break for all the wildlife, but also bringing with it the added threat of poachers hunting again. While flying over the Tsavo bush, one of the DSWT pilots noticed something unusual next to a water hole, which was full of water from the recent rain. On closer inspection he discovered a shooting blind with freshly cut vegetation disguising a poacher’s lair. He circled lower looking for signs of activity and on one of his passes a poacher panicked and broke cover. The poacher was followed from above while the helicopter was dispatched with KWS/DSWT rangers. Working closely with the Super Cub overhead and the team on board the helicopter, the poacher had no chance of escape and surrendered. He was taken to his hideout where he had supplies, arrows, axes and meat, prepared for a long stay while he planned to wait for an elephant to show up. He is presently under trial.
You can read more about the Aerial Unit’s activities during February in this report: