This year has realized for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust something that has long been at the top of our Wish List - an aircraft, funded by The US Friends of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s UK based Charity. It is a Supercub/Top cub, a small and versatile bush plane ideal for field work, and fittingly one which David Sheldrick himself flew extensively to keep Tsavo safe during his time.
Today the need for the Trust’s input in terms of aerial surveillance over Tsavo has never been more pressing or more timely. Sadly, the year has seen an upsurge in poaching. The price of ivory to a poacher has risen from K. Shs. 300/- per kilo to over K. Shs. 5,000/- per kilo which represents a fortune to a man who has little. The political disturbances that marked the beginning of the year following last year’s disputed elections have displaced thousands. It also resulted in a sharp decrease in tourist revenue - the mainstay of Kenya’s economy. Consequently, the Kenya Wildlife Service has slashed field budgets even further so it is important for us to try and help as best we can.
Frequent aerial surveillance is most needed over Tsavo East, where our orphans are growing up, with 36 of our Voi Orphans becoming increasingly more independent, and the presence of our 30 orphans at Ithumba in the Northern Area encouraging the wild herds to re-populate an area they abandoned for many years due to the poaching of the 70’s and 80’s. Surveillance over the whole of the Tsavo Conservation Area is crucial in order to effectively fight the ever increasing poaching and bush meat threat. The Trust’s new Aerial surveillance Unit will be working closely with The Kenyan Wildlife Service, our own six anti poaching teams and mobile veterinary unit.
We would like to encourage all of our supporters <>this Christmas<> to support our Aerial Surveillance Units operational costs for 2009, this can be done by donating directly through this link : http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/is/donate_now_desnaring.asp?dreason=5 .