Following evidence of an upsurge of poisoned arrow poaching throughout the Tsavo Conservation area, not least the removal of a poisoned arrow from the shoulder of Nursery reared Orphan “Kora”, now living wild at Ithumba among other ex orphans, permission was sought and granted by The Kenyan Wildlife Service for the Trust to commission another permanent anti-poaching team. This team will work together with the KWS authorities to help combat this menace, and provide an additional permanent presence in the remote Northern Area of Tsavo East National Park. The new Tiva Team, as it is called, is now fully operational, and the seventh David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust desnaring team working alongside KWS within the Tsavo Conservation Area as a whole. We thank KWS for extending this permission, and are deeply grateful to the Austrian NGO Vier Photen for providing the funding for this team. Likewise we are deeply grateful to East African Canvas who has donated the necessary camping equipment for this team.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Field Operations Officer, Richard Moller, working alongside the Park’s authorities and armed KWS Rangers who have the necessary powers of arrest, will oversee this new team, providing the aerial support which is so necessary to the success of such operations. Hardened tribesmen skilled in bush craft and tracking have been recruited from Kenya’s pastoral Northern tribes – men accustomed to working under challenging environmental conditions, who have the natural skills for this type of work. We hope that this team, along with our original Ithumba desnaring team, will add to additional patrolling presence that will be a deterrent to any further would-be poachers in that remote corner of the Park.
Although The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is best known for the Orphan’s Project, which involves the rescue, rearing and rehabilitation of the elephant orphans when grown back into the wilds, our focus does not end there, but incorporates support in other areas as well. Today in Kenya, as is the case throughout all the elephant Range States, elephants are under threat from poaching, human wildlife conflict, an expanding human population and climate change. In support of The Kenyan Wildlife Service the Trust funds seven antipoaching teams, provides aerial surveillance whenever requested, and funds and operates mobile Veterinary Units, one that covers the Tsavo Conservation area, and the other the Masai Mara. We establish and maintain electric fences on sensitive boundaries, elevating human wildlife conflict, and fund the drilling and maintenance of boreholes and windmills, providing essential watering points in an arid land which is unfortunately under increasing pressure from cattle incursion. This is all complimented with an extensive community outreach program.