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Our eyes in the sky protect wildlife and prevent illegal activity.
Our Aerial Unit patrols daily to monitor wildlife and deter illegal activity, while offering rapid response assistance to anti-poaching activities, incidents of human-wildlife conflict and veterinary operations in the Tsavo Conservation Area and Lamu District.
Flown in 2019
Fixed wing aircraft
Eyes in the sky
Aerial surveillance is needed now more than ever in an effort to curb ivory, bushmeat and rhino horn poaching, mitigate human-wildlife conflict and tackle broader threats to wildlife and habitats as a whole. It’s a vital tool and our eyes in the sky support our active ground teams in preventing illegal activities and apprehending poaching offenders. In addition, our Aerial Unit are on hand to help save the lives of many injured elephants and other wildlife species, not easily idenitfied on foot by our ground teams.
Flying on average 150 hours, covering a distance of up to 25,000km every month, our Aerial Unit takes part in daily security patrols, veterinary interventions for injured elephants and wildlife, search and rescue operations for orphaned elephant calves, firefighting and human-wildlife conflict mitigation. Our Unit currently consists of 5 fixed wing aircraft and 2 rapid response helicopters, ensuring an immediate response to incidents and providing us the ability to deploy rangers and the SWT/KWS Canine Unit into the field.
Support our aerial work
Our aerial operations
Illegal activities identified from the air include charcoal burning and the illegal intrusion of livestock within protected areas, which pose a significant threat to the environment and its wildlife. Ivory and bush meat poachers' hideouts, snare lines and shooting platforms are sighted and destroyed.
Ambushes are laid at strategic locations identified from the air and based on extensive operational reporting to combat illegal activities, an approach that has led to many arrests being made.
We currently operate seven aircraft, detailed below.
5Y CFZ (Cessna 206)
This turbo charged aircraft is capable of carrying five passengers plus the pilot and can fly at altitude with excellent endurance capabilities. Often called into action to transport a vet, his assistant and equipment.
5Y CXT (Airbus helicopter H120)
Offers quiet economical surveillance flying, ideal for patrolling, responding to human-wildlife conflict cases and the deployment of rangers. Able to land in taller vegetation and has a capacity to carry up to four passengers plus a pilot, or medical evacuation cases.
5Y CXP (Airbus helicopter H125 B3+)
A versatile and powerful machine that can be used to carry five passengers plus a pilot. It can transport rescued elephants, ferry long line heavy equipment and carry water for firefighting. It comes with medivac accessories so can be deployed in case of emergencies.
5Y DHS ( Cessna 185)
Powerful and fast with its continental IO 540 engine, this plane can carry heavy loads and accommodate up to five passengers plus a pilot. It can land on short, rough bush air strips and has significant endurance to cover large distances thanks to its large fuel tanks.
5Y-DTP (CC-18 Top Cub)
Able to fly slowly without stalling and undertake tight turns, it's perfect for any kind of surveillance, searching for illegal activities and locating injured animals.
5Y-TRA (PA-14 Piper Family Cruiser)
Larger than a Super Cub, it can economically transport up to 4 members of our field teams (including the pilot) to our field projects to carry out essential maintenance and monitoring work.
5Y-STP (PA-18 Super Cub)
The slow speeds and manoeuverability of this aircraft make it ideal for surveillance. The large Alaskan bush wheels ensure it can take off and land virtually anywhere.