Monthly Report: May 2017

Download PDF Download 05-2017_public_tsavo_trust_monthly_report.pdf

tsavo trust logo

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

Activity Hours Flown Miles Covered

Aerial Reconnaissance


69 (416 for year)
Average 78 mph of low level flight


5,412 (32,133 for year)
Flights carried out jointly with KWS staff

  No. Observed
Big "Tuskers"   7 Tuskers - 4 bulls (4 Super Tuskers and Nil emerging Tuskers) and 3 cows
  No. Recovered
Ivory Recovered   20 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)
   5 (c of d: 3 train hit, 1 poached, 1 natural)  1 (Poached via cable snare)
Carcasses / hours flown 1 every 11.5 hours of flight
Poachers camps and hides/blinds/platforms Fresh - 2  Recent - 3
Arrests   9 - by KWS / TT – (8 ivory dealeres, 1 bush-meat poacher - 46 for year to date)
Snares/traps recovered   20 (by Tembo Teams - 345 for year to date )
Response/support to KWS - armed incidents  Nil ( 5 for year to date)
Other Illegal actvities 31 cattle bomas 11,570 plus cows, 15+ people seen - only 3 livestick flights)
Written reports to KWS 37 (daily emails, various reports, various communications and 1 monthly report)
General and significant notes
  • Informer networks – 1st, 6th and 28th May17 total of 12 elephant tusks (135kg) recovered and 8 ivory dealers arrested jointly KWS / TT resulting from tip offs.

  • Between 17th to 21st May17 – TT provided aircraft and pilot to support KWS for Maasai Mara Aerial Census covering 27 hours and 2,100 miles.

  • Livestock incursions into the Tsavo Parks are incredibly high and on the increase

  • Aerial and ground support pertaining to rhino security ongoing through partnership with KWS / ZSL rhino program. 9 rhino specific recce flights carried out with KWS

Photo below shows a trapped young bull elephant between the SGR railway and fence line on 11th May 2017 near Mtito Andei. These are some of the immense challenges for both wildlife and management as the “human footprint” in and around Tsavo expands. There are many varying measures in place but some of these clearly need further thought such as the inadequate fence line.

A trapped young bull elephant railway fence line

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 7 different individual Tusker’s were observed from ground and air coverage. Sightings were lower than normal this month due to the fact that the Tsavo Trust aircraft was away for the Mara Aerial Census and also maintenance checks in Nairobi for half the month.

  • 4 bull Super Tuskers – 13 different sightings.

  • Emerging Tuskers – Nil

  • 3 iconic cow Tuskers – 16 sightings.

  • Total sightings – 29
  • Weather conditions: Dry and strong winds have started to pick up.

 - Elephant mortality: Number of carcasses found significantly down, especially poached elephants.

 - Rhino security:  9 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 9 In good health but requents an unsafe area! Has moved quite far this month
WS1 1 In worrying and unsafe location
ND1 2 Not seen in 39 months. Great newshe is still aloive
KO1 1 Moved back to original location having not been seen since February 2017
F_VPL 2 Back to normal location. Looking very old and thin, often alone!
F_MU1 9 Back to normal area. Looking very old and thin. Seen with her calf alone.
F_XT1 5 Back to normal location and in good health
Total 4 bulls, 3, cows: 29 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 taken by Joseph Kimaile from Tembo 2 team of cow Tusker coded as F_MU1 taken on 4th May 2017. She is a magnificent old Tsavo elephant and one Tsavo Trust has kept a track of over the last 4 years. She will have undoubtedly contributed greatly to Tsavo’s Tusker gene pool over her many years.

 Magnificent Tsavo cow tusker by Joseph Kimaile from Tembo 2 team

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, Ithumba

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 and 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 May 2017 where 69 hours were flown in support to KWS for anti-poaching, wildlife monitoring and aerial census operations covering 5,412 miles over the Tsavo’s.

Tsavo Trust flight paths May 2017

Field Mobile Units:

All Tsavo Trust mobile field units work with and in support of KWS on a daily basis. Tembo 1 and 3 teams are anti-poaching focused 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 30 6 10 20 Nil 2 motorbikes 1 3,600
Tembo 3 Kamungi 30 3 10 Nil 10 dikdiks,
1 Lesser Kudu,
70kg meat
- 4 3,379
Chui team
- - - - - - - -
TOTALS 60 9 20 20 As above As above 5 6,979
Totals 2017 277 19 42 345 - - 28 30,392


6 elephant tusks recovered - joint KWS and TT operationPhoto from joint KWS / TT Tembo 1 team on 1st May 2017 having arrested 3 ivory dealers and recovered 6 elephant tusks weighing 71kg.

This sting operation followed reliable informer information that led to this success.

In May17 joint KWS / TT carried out 3 such sting operations and arrested a total of 8 ivory dealers and recovered 12 elephant tusks weighing a total of 135kg.

Tsavo Trust’s informer network on TENP southern boundary is really bearing fruit.








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  22
  • Tusker monitoring
  • Endangered species – database records
  • Carnivore monitoring
  • Mombasa/Nairobi - Road & SGR kill surveys
  • Camera trap surveys Fixed point photos
  • Tuskers – 14 sightings
  • Hirola – 2 sightings
  • Grevy’s Zebra – 4 sightings
  • Large Carnivores – 11 sightings of varying types and numbers
  • Road and Rail kills - 4
TENP, Voi River, Satao, Buchuma, Ndara, Aruba, Manyani, KMC, Lugards, Galana River, Msa Rd., Dida Harea 4,133 
 TOTALS  22  As above  As above  As above  4,133
 Total 2017  89  -  -  15,122

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) have continued in varying ways:

  • Kamungi - bore hole solar equipment and pump is being installed as we speak and the delivery 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 – 21st May 2017- Tsavo Trust assisted one of the Kamungi community members, 15-year-old Betty Wambua, after she was seized by a large croc on her arm in the seasonal Mtito River, within Kamungi Conservancy, whilst watering her goats. Tsavo Trust immediately provided a vehicle and sent her to a professional medical facility called Kijabe Hospital outside Nairobi. Betty has undergone 2 operations, skin grafts and medication to stop infection. She is very lucky indeed to be alive and recovering.

Leopard Release Program:
Dotty the female leopard is now 13 months old and continues her slow rehabilitation process into the wild within TENP. She continues to grow very fast and is doing well in making her own kills and learning about her new environment.

Photo taken by Tsavo Trust Chui team – Michael Kitheka, shows Dotty having just made a hyrax kill on 23rd May 2017Photo taken by Tsavo Trust Chui team – Michael Kitheka, shows Dotty having just made a hyrax kill on 23rd May 2017











Unusual Photo of the Month:

Photo below was taken by Joseph Kimaile of Tembo 2 team on 3rd May 2017 in TENP, showing an elusive and rarely see male Caracal.

Caracal in Tsavo by Joseph Kimaile  

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, Nick Southgate, James Robertson, International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Tusk Trust UK and USA, The Woodtiger Fund, Ndovu Trust (UK), US Aid, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, International Elephant Foundation (IEF), Disney/Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Wines of the World Ltd, Africa Spirits Ltd, 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 Furniture Ltd (UK), Geri Bauer, Kathy Snowden, Simon Herd, Saving the Survivors, Karen Laurence-Rowe, Anadarko Kenya Co., Askari Project – Australia, Chris Acreman, Paul & James Wilson, Dutch Flower Foundation, 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.

blog comments powered by Disqus