In partnership with
To give both the wildlife and the people of Tsavo the right to a future.
How we achieve this
We are ambitious, yet realistic. Over the next ten years, the Tsavo Trust will undertake three targeted and focused work-streams to help to fulfil our mission:
- Wildlife Conservation Program: Continuing as a reliable and key conservation partner to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) through the provision of meaningful aerial and ground support. This relates to not only monitoring and data collection, but also mounting responses to any imminent threats. We will endeavour to create secure buffers bordering the formal Protected Area (PA).
- Community Conservancy Program: Developing and stewarding self-governing, community-led wildlife conservancies within the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA), including the fostering of partnerships with other organisations already working in support of wildlife, habitats and communities in the Tsavo ecosystem.
- Animal Welfare Program: Developing the Tsavo Sanctuary - a rescue centre for the care, rehabilitation and release of orphaned, injured and sick small mammals indigenous to the TCA. A strong emphasis will be placed on animal welfare and local community education. Importantly, we will ensure that – wherever possible and as soon as they are ready – the animals in our temporary care are given the best possible chance to return to the wild (something that is too often not the case).
Who We Are
The Tsavo Trust is a field-based, Kenyan not-for-profit conservation organisation.
Headquartered in the Kamungi Community Conservancy, which borders Tsavo East National Park (TENP), we are a team of professionals from the world of conservation and wildlife management in Kenya and have an excellent understanding of the challenges that the TCA faces.
We do not have a large back-office staff - each of our employees spend the majority of their time out in the field protecting the animals of Tsavo.
No-nonsense, action-oriented and with our eyes always set to the horizon, the Tsavo Trust is out there making a difference every day.
Our impact is clear and measurable
- Between 2013 and 2016, Tsavo Trust played a significant role alongside KWS in reducing elephant poaching by over 50% in the TCA.
- In 2015 alone, 567 hours were flown, covering 41,866 miles. Our combined aerial and ground Tsavo Trust / KWS deployments accounted for 276 arrests, 11 responses to armed contacts, the recovery of 18 elephant tusks and locating 16 poacher camps / hides.
- In 2016, 702 hours were flown, covering 52,650 miles. The same joint efforts as above accounted for 142 arrests, 2 responses to armed contacts, the recovery of 62 elephant tusks, locating 18 poacher camps / hides and the recovery of 1,050 wire snares.
- The Kumungi Conservancy has been formally registered both with the Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Association (KWCA) and as a Community-Based Organisation (CBO) with an elected board through a member’s registry of 60 families. This touches on the livelihoods of over 700 individuals on the northern boundary of Tsavo East National Park.
- The Tsavo Sanctuary is in its early days of development, but already several and varying species of small mammals, birds and reptiles have enjoyed a second chance for freedom. This initiative, in partnership with Kumungi Conservancy, has provided alternative forms of income through jobs and animal feed products to benefit the local community who historically relied heavily on illegal natural resource extraction from the Protected Area, such as bushmeat, ivory and charcoal.
The Tsavo ecosystem
Why is the Tsavo ecosystem special?
Thisecosystem,oftenreferredtoasthegreaterTsavoConservationArea(TCA),covers42,000k m2 of arid and semi-arid lands in southern Kenya. It is made up of three adjoining National Parks (Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyulu Hills), which together represent 49% of Kenya’s Protected Areas (over 25,000 km2 ). The TCA holds significant wildlife populations, both inside and outside the National Parks, including extremely large numbers of elephant and black rhino (40% and 18% of Kenya’s populations, respectively). Though there has been a decline in historic populations, there is nonetheless huge potential for future growth due to the area’s rich habitat conditions and the broad array of dedicated partners operating within. As the human population continues to strangle wildlife habitat, Tsavo represents one of the last relatively intact ecosystems in Kenya and with that, Tsavo is perhaps the last haven in Kenya for many wild animals to live normally - especially those with extensive ranges, such as elephant, wild dog and lion.
The inspiration for the Tsavo Trust’s logo comes from Kenani, the first Super Tusker that our founder Richard Moller discovered in Tsavo. The Tsavo Trust owes its existence to this old and wise icon.
When he showed it to conservationists back in Nairobi and abroad, no-one believed that an elephant with tusks of this size still existed. Following significant aerial monitoring and surveillance, along with extensive ground patrols, Richard and his team were able to identify 14 similar creatures. What had been discovered that year in Tsavo was beyond what many thought possible: an existing and viable breeding ground for one of the rarest and most remarkable animals on Earth: the Super Tusker elephant.
These enormous African elephants carry ivory which weigh an incredible 100 lbs or more on each side. Often, their tusks are so long they reach right down to the ground and wear away on the base of the curve as a result.
But these tusks - meant for protection - are now their greatest threat. Thousands have fallen in the name of human greed, leaving only a handful in existence today.
The Tsavo Trust was founded in 2013 with the aim to protect this final gene pool from the relentless threat of poaching, and to give the Super Tuskers a right to life in the wild.
These giants are very special creatures and continue to inspire our work. They command respect wherever they roam, wise authorities within their herds; and royalty within the animal kingdom. Other species keep their distance, bowing in their presence. When faced with loss, elephants grieve; and when faced with mistreatment, they remember. What must be behind those eyes? What stories could Kenani tell, through droughts and mass slaughter as far back as the 70s?
These remarkable creatures represent the plight of all African animals through recent decades. They are beacons of hope. If we can save them, we can save their families. If we can save their families, we can save their environment. If we can save their environment, we save all the other life that exists in this extraordinary ecosystem. The value of the Super Tuskers for future generations of Kenyans can not be underestimated.
Our founding ambition to help them still exist in the form of our Big Tusker Project today - and, by monitoring and protecting them, the ecosystem at large is also able to thrive and prosper safely as a result.
Leopard reintroduction programme
Every now and then, the Kenya Wildlife Service asks for our assistance with something a bit different. On the 12th May 2016, a small female leopard cub was brought into our care. She weighed a fraction over 1kg and her eyes had just begun to peel open; it was a further two weeks before she could properly focus and walk without bumping into anything. We estimated her age to be 10/14 days on arrival. She was a tiny, mangy flea-ridden ball of fur with some sharp claws but not teeth. It was obvious she had been away from her mother for sometime, who was likely poisoned by local herders.
KWS fully endorsed Tsavo Trust to keep her, as well as to develop a dedicated rehabilitation area deep within the National Park. We named her Dotty.
As with all of the animals in our care, our plan is to reintroduce Dotty back into the wild. This is a very complex and costly project - most orphaned leopards in the world simply live out their lives in cages. We didn’t want that for Dotty, one day in the wild is better than a life in solitary confinement.
Our oldest employee
There is one member of the Tsavo Trust team that deserves a special mention. She has been operating in conservation for nearly 50 years. In her younger years, she partnered famously with Bill Woodley and together they took part in mountain rescue missions, armed poacher attacks, fire fighting and so much more. She has looked after royalty and has done thousands of hours monitoring wildlife over the decades. She has most likely seen and taken part in more anti-poaching operations than any other living sole in the country. She has a mind of her own, no question about that but, she knows Tsavo like the back of her wings and her name is ACE. We have to thank Stu Herd (a very close friend of Richard’s and a founding Board Member of Tsavo Trust) for making this initial donation that has given Tsavo Trust the platform (or ‘runway’) to fly into the complex, challenging yet rewarding world of trying to conserve what we know and love: Tsavo.