Monthly Report: January 2018

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Aerial and Ground Operations ("Big Tusker Project") Summary:

Activity Hours Flown Kilometres Covered

Aerial Reconnaissance


64 (64 for year)
Average 120 kph of low level flight


7,699 km (7,699 km for year)
Flights carried out jointly with KWS staff

  Field Patrol Days Kilometres Covered
Ground Activities
(Joint KWS / Tsavo Trust)
Protection teams: 62 days
Monitoring teams: 438days
Protection teams: 7,420 km
Monitoring teams: 7,486 km
  No. Observed
Big "Tuskers"   11 Tuskers - 10 bulls (2 Super Tuskers and 8 emerging Tuskers) and 1 cow
  No. Recovered
Ivory Recovered   29 elephant tusks (29 for year to date)

Elephant Carcasses

Fresh (less than 3 weeks old) Recent (less than 3 months old)
   1 (c of d: 1 natural)  16 (c of d: 14 natural, 2 unconfirmed)
Carcasses / hours flown 1 every 3.76 hours of flight
Poachers camps and hides/blinds/platforms Fresh - Nil  Recent - Nil
Arrests   Nil
Snares/traps recovered   48 (by Tembo Teams - 48 for year to date )
Written reports to KWS 55 (daily email reports, various communications and 1 monthly report)
General and significant notes
  • 29/1/18 - start of the joint KWS / STE / Tsavo Trust elephant collaring exercise (20 elephants) Tsavo East and Tsavo West for purposes of SGR and highway movements, Human-Elephant Conflict and security

  • Aerial and ground support in Tsavo West National Park, Rhino Program, ongoing through partnership with KWS / ZSL. 6 rhino specific recce flights carried out with KWS

Photo shows super Tusker LU1 in Musth (center), here with a cow calf herd and in the process spreading his valuable Tusker genes, mid-January 2018 in TENP. (photo courtesy of James Lewin)

Super Tusker among a cow and calf herd in Tsavo East National Park by James Lewin

Wildlife Conservation Program

'Big Tusker Project' - aerial and Mobile ground teams:

Tsavo Trust’s Big Tusker Project (BTP) recorded the following details in the BTP database:

  • Total of 11 different individual Tusker's were observed from ground and air coverage.
  • 2 bull Super Tuskers - 15 different sightings.
  • 8 Emerging bull Tuskers - 12 sightings.
  • 1 iconic cow Tuskers - 11 sightings.
  • Total sightings – 38
  • Weather conditions: Tsavo Trust HQ rainfall: Nil. Other parts drying out very fast.

 - Elephant mortality: 15 carcasses located (1 fresh,16 recent): 15 confirmed as natural deaths (drought related) and 2 unconfirmed c of d.

 - Rhino security:  Regular aerial recces in support of KWS over Tsavo West National Park rhino areas in partnership with ZSL. 6 rhino specific air recces resulted in 1,662km flown over 15 hrs (5 Tsavo West and 1 Tsavo East).

Table 1: Shows “Tusker” code, number of times observed during month and brief remarks. 

Tusker Code No. Times
Seen / Month
LU1 10 In good health and in Musth
WS1 4 On boundary of Park
IL1 1 Moved eastwards with rains. In Musth
BU1 2 Normal location
MU1 1 Normal location. In Musth
GA1 1 Back to original location
SO1 3 Normal location. In Musth
KU1 3 Outside of Park!
WA1 1 Normal location
KI1 1 Back to normal location
F_DI1 11 Normal location
Total 10 bulls, 1 cow: 38 different sighings  
Close working relationship between KWS and Tsavo Trust (aerial and ground units combined) is without doubt adding to elephant security and safety of the big Tuskers and other elephants within the TCA through meaningful collaboration alongside KWS Security and Research and Monitoring Departments.

Photo below shows the magnificent long and slender ivory belonging to cow Tusker coded as F_DI1. As you can see these tusks scrape along the ground as she moves, 24th January 2018. She was observed bull 11 times this month by Tsavo Trust.

 The magnificent long and slender ivory belonging to cow Tusker coded as F_DI1

Areas Covered: Table 2: Shows the main areas covered within the TCA for this month:

Tsavo East

Tsavo West

Ranches and Dispersal Areas

Northern Area – Yatta Plateau, Durusikale, Garasamuke, Emusaya, Golf Charlie, Koitu, Sobo, Sangayaya, Dabaduke, Mufupa ya Ndovu, Tiva River, Ndiandaza, Ya Kalicha, Roka

Southern Area – Voi, Ndololo, Kanderi, Wagalla, Ndara Plains, Buchuma, Maungu, Murondo, Dakota, Voi River, Dika Plains, Satao, power lines, Aruba, Mukuaju, Dika, Konu Moja, Dida Harea, Balguda, Sala, Lali, Sobo, TENP boundary, Koitu, Galana River

Central Area – TE R/S, IPZ, Manyani east, Punda Milia, Hatulo Bisani, Lugards, Mbololo lugga, Balguda, Irima, Mudanda, Maka Hill, Man-eaters, Triangle, Mtito Lugga, Zero Delta, Voi north & east, Galana River, Tsavo River and Yatta Central, SGR

Northern Sector –  IPZ, Mangalete, Kamboyo, Kisimeka, Chyulu south, Mtito lugga, Mungai Hill, Finch Hattons, Mzima Springs, Shetani volcano, Severin, Kilaguni, Ndawe, Tsavo River

Southern Sector – Murka, Maktau, Ziwani, Serengeti plains

Central Sector – IPZ, Rhino Valley, NRS, Tsavo River, Kinyek, Maji ya Chumvi (north & south), Ziwani, Lesoito, Kyulu, Manda, Kishushe, Murka, Mombasa Highway, Man Easters, Kenani, Kanga, Manyani north and west, SGR line

TENP border - lNgiluni/Kamunyu, Kulalu, Derea, Murondo, Magram/Dakota Ranch, KMC, Ngutuni, Kilifi & Galana Ranch

TWNP border – Ziwani and Rombo

Chyulu Hills NP - Nil

Taita Ranches – Nil

  • The locations mentioned above is only an indicator of flight paths taken, many other areas in between are also covered and in so doing providing “eyes in the skies” over Tsavo and directional guidance to ground units.
  • All flight paths are logged and recorded with all relevant real time observations relayed to KWS on a daily basis for their records as well as necessary rapid reaction.

Tsavo Trust flight path map January 2018January 2018 flight paths over Tsavo:

64 hours flown, 7,699 kilometers covered

Supporting KWS activities:
• Air and ground operations
• Big Tusker monitoring
• Illegal activities
• Endangered species monitoring
• Aerial census work



Field Mobile Units:

All Tsavo Trust's mobile field units work in support of KWS on a daily basis. Tembo 1 and 3 (inclduding Kamungi Scouts) teams are de-snaring focused whilst Tembo 2 and Tembo 4 teams are monitoring and research dedicated. These teams provide further "eyes and ears on the ground".

De-snaring teams:

Table 7: Shows outcomes from anti-poaching activities from Tembo 1 and 3 teams:

De-snaring teams No. Field days No. arrests No. Ivory recvd. No. Snares recvd. Bushmeat recvd. Poachers equip. recvd. No. Poacher camps Vehicle mileage Km
Tembo 1
(7  Tsavo Trust men + 3 KWS men)


4 42 Nil 1 bicycle Nil 4,189
Tembo 3 Kamungi
(12 Tsavo Trust men + 3 KWS men)
30 Nil Nil 6 Nil Nil Nil 3,231
Chui team
- - - - - - - -
TOTALS 61 - 4 48 As above As above 1 7,420
Totals 2017 61 - 4 48 - - - 7,420

Monitoring teams:

Table 8: Shows activities carried out by Tembo 2 and Tembo 4 teams – research and monitoring:

Monitoring team   No. Field days Activities   Endangered species records / sightings  Operating locations  Vehicle mileage km

Tembo 2
(3 Tsavo Trust staff + 2 KWS)

  • Tusker monitoring
  • Hirola monitoring
  • Grevy's zebra monitoring
  • Carnivore monitoring
  • Mombasa/Nairobi - Road and SGR kill surveys
  • Camera trap surveys
  • Fixed point photos
  • Tuskers – 22 sightings
  • Hirola – 9 sightings
  • Grevy’s Zebra – 1 sighting
  • Large Carnivores – 12 sightings
  • Road and Rail kills - 0
  • Elephant carcasses - 8
  • Rain guage readings
TENP, Voi River, Satao, Buchuma, Dakota, Ndara, Aruba, Manyani, KMC, Lugards, Koitu, Emusaya, Galana River, Msa Rd., Dida Harea 5,356 
Tembo 4
(2 Tsavo Trust staff + 2 KWS)
  • Tusker monitoring
  • Rhino monitoring
  • Carnivore monitoring
  • Mombasa/Nairobi - Road and SGR kill surveys
  • Camera trap surveys
  • Fixed point photos
  • Tuskers – 4 sightings
  • Rhino monitoring IPZ
  • Large Carnivores – 5 sightings
  • Road and Rail kills - 2
  • Elephant carcasses - Nil
  • Rain guage readings
TWNP, Kamboyo, Mangalete, Kilaguni, Mzima, Shetani, Finch H, Ziwani, Kitani, Tsavo River, Rhino Valley, IPZ, NRS 2,130
 TOTALS  43  As above  As above  As above  7,486
 Total 2017  359  -  -  7,486

Other Tsavo Trust Activities in brief:

Community Conservancy Program: KAMUNGI CONSERVANCY

Partnership between Tsavo Trust and Kamungi Conservancy (bordering northern boundary of TENP - Triangle) continues to thrive in many ways;

  • Employment (35 permanent employees and an average of 15 casual employees monthly, all from this community)
  • Kamungi Water project is fully functional providing water directly to Ngiluni Village
  • Tsavo Trust employs a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) to help coordinate varying activities as well as maintaining a record of all HWC between Mtito Andei and TT HQ
  • HWC - Elephant Bee Fences - currently 5 x 1 acre plots have been fenced using this unique fencing design (by Dr. Lucy King and Save The Elephants)
  • Management Plan - Kamungi Management Plan (5 years - 2018 to 2022) is in its final stages before going to print


Photo below taken by Vanessa Moller (Tsavo Trust) shows one of 7 wild dogs on a zebra kill in the TENP Triangle are on 14th January 2018, close to Tsavo Trust HQ.

Wild Dog on Zebra kill Tsavo East photo by Vanessa Moller

With Sincere thanks and appreciation to:

Kenya Wildlife Service, Save The Elephants/Wildlife Conservation Network/Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Oak Foundation, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), US-Aid / DOI, Tusk Trust, Stuart Herd, Sir Colin Southgate, Nick Southgate, Alex Graham, Dr. David K.P. Li, Nick Powell, James Robertson, International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Markus Jebsen, Ndovu Trust (UK), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, The Davies Family, Leopardess Foundation (Nicole Honegger), Paul Block, International Elephant Foundation (IEF), Disney/Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Mike Kirkland/Torben Rune - Satao Camp and Southern Cross Safaris (Msa), Tropical Ice Ltd, Askari Project - Australia, Salama Fikira, Origins Safaris, JW Seagon Insurance, The Art of BAS and Oak Furniture Land, Howard Saunders, Sandor Carter, Geri Bauer, Karen Laurence-Rowe, OnSafari-Kenya-Anthony Cheffings, Kathy Snowden, Saving the Survivors, Anadarko Kenya Co., Chris Acreman, Paul & James Wilson, Dutch Flower Foundation, Alex Hunter - Insiders Africa, Simon Herd, Spidertracks, Michael Cheffings, Pembroke House School and numerous other individual supporters.

Report compiled by Richard Moller – Chief Executive Officer, Tsavo Trust

All photographs ©Richard Moller / Tsavo Trust 2017

© Richard Moller and Tsavo Trust, 2012 to 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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