Aerial Surveillance

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.

234,458 kms

Flown in 2018


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.

Aerial Unit

Flying on average 150 hours and covering 19,500km every month, our Aerial Unit takes part in daily security patrols, search and veterinary intervention for injured elephants and wildlife, as well as search and rescue operations for orphaned elephant calves and wildlife emergencies. 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.

Map of kenya

We operate seven aircraft including:


5Y-DWT (MD 500e)

A lightweight helicopter, with a short tail, that can land almost anywhere. Making it perfect for dropping rangers into remote areas and transporting a Vet to the scene of an injured animal.

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 activity and locating injured animals.

5Y-TRA (PA-14 Piper Family Cruiser)

Larger than a Super Cub, we can 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)

In strong winds, this aircraft can almost hover making it ideal for surveillance. Its wheel configuration, with large bush wheels, means it can take off and land virtually anywhere.

Read the latest monthly reports from our Pilots

Aerial: Aerial Surveillance Report for June 2019

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Aerial: Aerial Surveillance Report for May 2019

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Aerial: Aerial Surveillance Report for April 2019

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Help us watch over wildlife and the wild spaces they call home