Monthly Report: June 2017

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

Activity Hours Flown Miles Covered

Aerial Reconnaissance


60 (476 for year)
Average 75 mph of low level flight


4,509 (35,742 for year)
Flights carried out jointly with KWS staff

  No. Observed
Big "Tuskers"   10 Tuskers - 8 bulls (4 Super Tuskers and 4 emerging Tuskers) and 2 cows
  No. Recovered
Ivory Recovered   Nil elephant tusks (46 for year to date - largest 53.5 and 52.5kg)

Elephant Carcasses

Fresh (less than 3 weeks old) Recent (less than 3 months old)
   3 (c of d: 3 train hit, 1 poached, 1 natural)  Nil
Carcasses / hours flown 1 every 20 hours of flight
Poachers camps and hides/blinds/platforms Fresh - Nil  Recent - Nil
Arrests   29 - by KWS / TT – (7 bush-meat poachers, 22 livestock - 75 for year to date)
Snares/traps recovered   43 (by Tembo Teams - 388 for year to date )
Response/support to KWS - armed incidents  Nil ( 5 for year to date)
Other Illegal actvities 69 cattle bomas (32,200 plus cows, 3,700 shoats, 450 camels 126+ people seen)
Written reports to KWS 39 (daily emails, various reports, various communications and 1 monthly report)
General and significant notes
  • Livestock incursions into the Tsavo Parks are incredibly high and on the increase but later part of month saw much needed livestock drives taking place with TT participation

  • Livestock incursions into the Tsavo Parks are incredibly high and on the increase but later part of month saw much needed livestock drives taking place with TT participation

  • 20/6/17 – Albino baby elephant spotted, TENP

  • 24/6/17 – During an aerial recce; 1 emerging bull Tusker, 400 plus elephant, 2 different prides of lion, 1 leopard and 5 hyena spotted for an interesting and unusual flight

  • Aerial and ground support pertaining to rhino security ongoing through partnership with KWS / ZSL rhino program. 11 rhino specific recce flights carried out with KWS

Photo below shows what appears to be an albino male elephant calf with his mother on 20th June 2017 in TENP at Mudanda water hole. Certainly, his skin colour and pigmentation is very different and pink in colour that resembles an albino elephant – a sight rarely seen.

Albino elephant calf with mother photo copyright Tsavo Trust Richard Moller

Big Tusker Project - aerial and ground teams:

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

  • Total of 10 different individual Tusker’s were observed from ground and air coverage.

  • Total of 10 different individual Tusker’s were observed from ground and air coverage.

  • 4 bull Super Tuskers – 4 different sightings.

  • 4 Emerging Tuskers – 4

  • 2 iconic cow Tuskers – 11 sightings.

  • Total sightings – 19
  • Weather conditions: Dry and strong winds.

 - Elephant mortality: Number of carcasses found significantly down, with no poached elephants located, all 3 were natural deaths.

 - Rhino security:  11 rhino specific aerial recces took place with KWS / TT aircraft in TWNP and TENP. TT - Tembo 3 team continued in support to KWS in ground operations in the TW IPZ. Strong and valuable 3-way partnership between KWS / ZSL and TT continues with specific focus on rhino protection in TWNP.

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

Tusker Code No. Times
Seen / Month
LU1 1 In good health but requents an unsafe area!
IL1 1 In worrying and unsafe location!
BA1 1 In worrying and unsafe location!
KO1 1 Moved back to original location
SL1 1 Has moved big distances
MA1 1 Normal location
DR1 1 Moved out of Park!
KM2 1 Normal location
F_VPL 4 Back to normal location. Looking very old and thin, often alone!
F_MU1 7 Normal area. Looking very old and thin. Always seen with her s/adult calf
Total 8 bulls, 2 cows: 19 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 shows one of Tsavo’s magnificent and iconic cow Tuskers coded as F_MU1 on 20th June 2017, TENP.Photo shows one of Tsavo’s magnificent and iconic cow Tuskers coded as F_MU1 on 20th June 2017, TENP. She is looking very old and it remains a big worry if she will pull through this dry spell over the next 4 months?

 One of Tsavo’s magnificent and iconic cow Tuskers coded as F_MU1

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, 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 – Lake Jipe, Toloa, Kanjaro, Kamshari, TZ border

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 -Ngiluni/Kamunyu, Kulalu, Derea, Murondo, Magram/Dakota Ranch, Ngutuni, Galana Ranch

TWNP border – Ziwani and Lualenyi

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.

 Map below shows flight paths for June 2017 where 60 hours were flown in support to KWS for anti-poaching, wildlife monitoring and aerial census operations covering 4,509 miles over the Tsavo’s.

Tsavo Trust flight paths June 2017

Field Mobile Units:

All Tsavo Trust mobile field units work alongside in support of KWS on a daily basis. Tembo 1 and 3 teams are anti-poaching focused whilst Tembo 2 team is monitoring and research dedicated.

Anti-poaching teams:

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

Anti-poaching 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 15 Nil Nil 20 Nil 1 spade Nil 2,874
Tembo 3 Kamungi 30 7 Nil Nil 5 dikdiks,
1 Lesser Kudu,
39kg meat
Cooking equip. Nil 3,421
Chui team
- - - - - - - -
TOTALS 45 7 Nil 43 As above As above Nil 6,295
Totals 2017 322 26 42 388 - - 28 36,687

Monitoring teams:

Table 8: Shows activities carried out by Tembo 2 team:

Monitoring team   No. Field days Activities   Endangered species records / sightings  Operating locations  Vehicle mileage km
 Tembo 2  25
  • Tusker monitoring
  • Endangered species – database records
  • Carnivore monitoring
  • Mombasa/Nairobi - Road & SGR kill surveys
  • Camera trap surveys Fixed point photos
  • Tuskers – 12 sightings
  • Hirola – 4 sightings
  • Grevy’s Zebra – 9 sightings
  • Large Carnivores – 22 sightings of varying types and numbers
  • Road and Rail kills - 5
TENP, Voi River, Satao, Buchuma, Ndara, Aruba, Manyani, KMC, Lugards, Galana River, Msa Rd., Dida Harea 4,257 
 TOTALS  25  As above  As above  As above  4,257
 Total 2017  114  -  -  19,379

Photo shows Tembo 2 field monitoring unit observing one of Tsavo’s iconic cow Tuskers coded as F_MU1 in TENP on 20th June 2017

Tembo 2 field monitoring unit observing a Tsavo iconic cow tusker

Other Tsavo Trust Activities in brief:

Community Program: KAMUNGI CONSERVANCY: 
Ongoing partnership and stewardship development between Tsavo Trust and Kamungi Conservancy (bordering northern boundary of TENP – Triangle) continues in varying ways:Ongoing partnership and stewardship development between Tsavo Trust and Kamungi Conservancy (bordering northern boundary of TENP – Triangle) continues in varying ways:

  • Kamungi Water Project - bore hole solar equipment and pump is now installed and digging of the delivery pipe line to Ngiluni village, 2.5km away is also under construction.
  • Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) – Elephant & Bees Project is ongoing and working well.
  • HWC – Crocodile Attack – 15-year-old Betty Wambua (reported on in last month’s report) is out of hospital and recovering wel.

Photo below shows Kamungi Conservancy bore hole pump and solar power system, funded through Tsavo Trust by its supporters. A stone wall is being built around this unit to help protect it against elephants. This water source for the local community could not be more timely given the continual droughts that this area experiences. It will help to create awareness within Kamungi community and with this create a protective “buffer” to the TENP that forms Kamungi’s southern boundary.

Kamungi Conservancy bore hole construction

Aerial photo below shows one of the Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) - Elephant & Bees fenced plots within Kamungi Conservancy. Tsavo Trust and Kamungi Conservancy have partnered with Save The Elephants through Dr. Lucy King who pioneered this concept with considerable success.

Kamungi Conservancy beehive fence from air

Animal Welfare Program: Leopard Release Program:

  • Dotty the female leopard is now 14 months old and continues to thrive in her home in TENP. She has spent several days and nights at a time away from her release boma and has clearly come into contact with other wild leopards and has made her own kills. All good signs for her future.
  • Tsavo Trust has recently taken on a second orphaned female leopard for release into Tsavo, from KWS, called “Sophie”. The lengthy process of rehabilitation has started well.


Albino elephant calf copyright Richard MollerBack to the unusual sight of a possible albino baby elephant, again this photo was taken on 20th June 2017 in TENP of a rarely seen albino elephant calf.

This photo clearly shows the extreme colour variations between mother and calf as they have both just come out of Mudanda water hole and all sets of legs have been washed clean that shows the clear colour variance.












With Sincere thanks and appreciation to:

Kenya Wildlife Service, Save The Elephants/Wildlife Conservation Network Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Oak Foundation, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Stuart Herd, Sir Colin Southgate, Nick Southgate, James Robertson, International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Tusk Trust UK and Tusk Trust USA, The Woodtiger Fund, Ndovu Trust (UK), US Aid, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, International Elephant Foundation (IEF), Disney/Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Mike Kirkland/Torben Rune, Satao Camp (Tsavo East) & Southern Cross Safaris (Msa), Tropical Ice Ltd, Salama Fikira, Origins Safaris, JW Seagon Insurance, The Art of BAS and Oak Furnitureland, Geri Bauer, Kathy Snowden, Simon Herd, Saving the Survivors, Karen Laurence-Rowe, Anadarko Kenya Co., Askari Project – Australia, Chris Acreman, Paul and James Wilson, Dutch Flower Foundation, Wildlife Traax, Enable Green Energy, Alex Hunter – InsidersAfrica, 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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