The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit is in its seventh year of operation thanks to the dedicated and generous support of the Minara Foundation. Founded in March 2007, the Mara Unit was implemented following the successful template of the Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit, which has now been in operation for nearly ten years.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) was first established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary, covering just 520km2 including the Mara Triangle, yet over the following years the Mara has extended its protection over additional land parcels and today conserves a land mass of over 1,500km2. The MMNR is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes many Community Conservancies and Group Ranches including Olare Orok, Naibosho, Siana, Olderkesi, and Mara North, just to name a few.
The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit is based at the Kenya Wildlife Service Research Station at Keekorok within the heart of the Masai Mara and was first headed by KWS Field Veterinary Officer Dr Dominic Mijele. Dr Mijele competently ran the Unit for over six years and has only recently been replaced in 2013 with Dr Campaign Limo, a Field Veterinary Officer who previously was based at the Kenya Wildlife Service HQ in Nairobi.
Dr Limo, ably assisted by Veterinary Assistant and Driver Felix Micheni and two KWS capture rangers, now has the great responsibility of providing fast and effective veterinary care to the wildlife of the Greater Mara Ecosystem including Lake Naivasha, Ruma National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park and the surrounding ranches and dispersal areas.
To support the KWS Veterinary Officers who are heading the DSWTs three Mobile Veterinary Units in the Mara, Tsavo and Meru, the Trust has in 2013 also initiated a new veterinary initiative called Sky Vets. This project will facilitate the deployment of available KWS veterinary officers from the dedicated KWS veterinary pool in Nairobi to field cases throughout Kenya when the mobile veterinary units are unable to respond to a specific report. The Sky Vets initiative has the ability of becoming a hugely effective and vital deployment procedure ensuring rapid veterinary response and access to emergency wildlife cases during a time when such wildlife support is needed the most, and whilst a significant number of key threatened wildlife species have the chance to be saved.
The Masai Mara is infamous for its incredible wildlife and of course the yearly Great Migration, one of Natures most impressive natural events, showcasing the migration of over 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson's gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras, who all make the dangerous journey north from the Serengeti plains into the Masai Mara in search of fresh pasture. This is one of Kenyas greatest tourist destinations and a major source of income and employment for the Country, which is why this vital environment and its wildlife must be protected at all costs.
The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit faces a great challenge in keeping the Maras wild inhabitants safe from the ever-prevalent human-wildlife conflict which encroaches into their natural world. Poaching and bush-meat snaring is a very serious threat and one which claims many lives and causes much suffering. The DSWT always welcomes support to ensure veterinary care is available when it is needed the most, please help however you can by donating through our website https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/is/donate_now.asp