In the beginning of April our team was busy monitoring elephants and because the area was starting to dry out again this meant that conflict between people, elephants and wildlife was on the rise due to less water and grass availability.
By the end of the first week on the 7th of April our team received a report from community members about an injured male giraffe lying down and unable to move inside someone’s fence. We responded immediately and according to eye witnesses in the area, the large adult male giraffe had been with a herd of other giraffes next to a settlement and sometime around dawn they were startled by something and stampeded. This giraffe got separated from the others and while running he tripped over a fence and fell violently more than 20 feet into a deep ravine. We quietly observed him to see if he could get up on his own but it was obvious that he could barely lift his head. We informed the Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit and the rangers kept all people away from him to allow him some peace but sadly the giraffe died due to the severity of his injuries not long afterwards. With the Maasai sub species of giraffe having recently been declared as endangered, this was truly a terrible loss for the ecosystem.
During much of April there was no rain in sight and this placed more pressure on both the community and wildlife. Not a day went by that the rangers didn’t respond and help prevent cases of potential conflict throughout Siana. As always we tremendously appreciated the collaboration from the community in such instances.
Thankfully with the arrival of May came much needed rains! The area was quickly turned green again and immense challenges brought on by drought were alleviated.
A few familiar elephants returned to the area to enjoy the abundance of food and muddy waterholes such as Osupat [pictured] who we have known for more than 10 years. As one of the highest ranking bulls in the area, Osupat is a vital member of the population because of his experience and guidance of younger males. The rangers were kept busy monitoring as many as eight different groups of elephants on their daily patrols.
While on an evening patrol on the 26th of May we found Naisiai [pictured below] with a newborn calf! She is a first time mother as far as we know and she is already very diligent as she constantly checks on her newborn, notice in this photo how the tip of her trunk is pointed towards the calf in an attentive monitoring posture. We are overjoyed for Naisiai who has graduated from being a fiercely protective and caring allomother to being a proud mother herself.
In June a new Elephant Aware ranger mess/pavilion was built thanks to generous support from one of our donors. The completion of this structure coincided with heavy rains and it has been a crucial addition for the rangers.
On the morning of the 9th of June while the rangers were watching over this herd of elephants they helped prevent potential conflict between a motorbike driver and this herd of elephants was successfully prevented thanks to the dedicated efforts of our team at Elephant Aware! As always, we are grateful that the outcome was peaceful for all involved and for the incredible calm patience displayed by the elephants! HEC is an ongoing issue across much of the continent and we work around the clock to help elephants and people coexist in harmony. Follow this link for the video: https://www.facebook.com/ElephantAwareMasaiMara/videos/vb.146762032049082/380516209481002/?type=2&theater
Between April and June the Elephant Aware team covered more than 9000 kilometres (almost 6,000 miles) through vehicle and motorbike patrols and roughly 6000 kilometres of ranger foot patrols. This is a testament to the dedication of our team and to the extent of our everyday efforts.
Nelion, her older calf and her newborn calf follow behind their herd this evening. A few months ago, on the 29th of March to be exact, we put out a post saying that we expected for Nelion (also known as Namunyak) to have another calf soon after seeing her being “guarded” by a male in musth (a common behaviour when males in musth mate with females in estrous) called Meure in August 2017 and today we are overjoyed to have been proved correct! Nelion has a tiny new baby who we think was born very early this morning and this evening she brought her calf to our camp. We have no doubt that because we have known this elephant family for many years, they also know us and Nelion purposely brought her newborn to show us how proud she is. Needless to say, we were all incredibly honoured and happy!
This is the dedicated Elephant Aware canine unit on patrol recently. These wonderful tracker dogs are specially trained to work alongside the rangers in their work and they are invaluable members of our team who contribute enormously to our conservation efforts.
World Giraffe Day on the 21st of June was made even more special with a number of giraffe births in the area and we were overjoyed to come across some of the tiny newborns on our patrols!
This exquisite vista, captured on a recent ranger patrol, perfectly showcases the very purpose of conservation and what exactly it is so many of us are fighting to safeguard. It is a sad fact that wilderness like this is becoming more and more rare throughout the world but it is up to all of us to ensure that the natural treasures remaining on our planet are secured.
The area received a considerable amount of rain throughout the month of June which helped the wildlife and surrounding communities tremendously. As always, our team is enormously grateful to each and everyone of our supporters. Remember to keep up with our social media pages for frequent updates of our work here on the ground to protect elephants and other species in the Mara ecosystem. Thank you!