Monthly Report: November 2017

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

Activity Hours Flown Miles Covered

Aerial Reconnaissance


86 (797 for year)
Average 74 mph of low level flight


6,421 (59,256 for year)
Flights carried out jointly with KWS staff

  No. Observed
Big "Tuskers"   14 Tuskers - 13 bulls (5 Super Tuskers and 8 emerging Tuskers) and 1 cow
  No. Recovered
Ivory Recovered   42 elephant tusks (211 for year to date - largest 53.5 and 52.5kg)

Elephant Carcasses

Fresh (less than 3 weeks old) Recent (less than 3 months old)
   14 (c of d: 14 natural)  (3 old carcasses, c of d: 6 natural)
Carcasses / hours flown 1 every 4.3 hours of flight
Poachers camps and hides/blinds/platforms Fresh - 1  Recent - Nil
Arrests   3 - by KWS / Tsavo Trust – details CONFIDENTIAL
Snares/traps recovered   20 (by Tembo Teams - 863 for year to date )
Written reports to KWS 53 (daily email reports, various communications and 1 monthly report)
General and significant notes
  • Good rains have finally fallen over most parts of Tsavo E & W

  • 4/11/17: Official opening of Kamungi Conservancy Water Project

  • Aerial and ground support for rhino security ongoing through partnership with KWS / ZSL rhino program. Rhino capture between 20th to 27th Nov 17. 21 rhino specific recce flights carried out with KWS covering 4,399 miles over 59 hours of flight

Photo shows the Kamungi Conservancy Chairman speaking to community members and the opening ceremony of the Kamungi Water Project on 4th November 2017. This project consisting of a bore hole, solar pumping station, 2.5-kilometer pipeline to Ngiluni Village, 100,000 litre water tank and dispensing kiosk was put in place by Tsavo Trust to support the community members of Kamungi Conservancy that borders onto TENP.

Kamungi Conservancy water project opening ceremony - Tsavo Conservation Area

\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 14 different individual Tusker’s were observed from ground and air coverage.
  • 5 bull Super Tuskers – 16 different sightings.
  • 8 Emerging bull Tuskers – 19 sightings.
  • 1 iconic cow Tuskers – 1 sightings.
  • Total sightings – 36
  • Weather conditions: Good rain in most parts and Tsavo has finally greened up significantly.

 - Elephant mortality: 20 carcasses located (14 fresh, 3 recent and 3 old with ivory intact): All confirmed as natural deaths realted to drought and starvation.

 - Rhino security:  Between 20th and 27th November17, TW rhino capture took place by KWS / ZSL with Tsavo Trust providing aerial surveillance and mobile ground team in support. A total of 21 air recces were carried out covering 4,399 miles over 59 hours of flight. 24 rhinos were immobilized with 9 fitted with VHF transmitters and 15 ear notched for monitoring purposes.

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

Tusker Code No. Times
Seen / Month
LU1 7 In good health and has crossed the Msa rd. several times recently!
SL1 1 In worrying and unsafe location on the Park boundary!
MU1 5 Thankfully back inside the Park and in good health
KO1 1 In a worrying and unsafe remote loaction, often on the border of the Park!
IL1 2 Normal location
MA1 3 Normal location
KI1 3 Normal location
DR1 2 Normal location
EM1 1 Back to original location, not seen for last 6 months!
HA1 2 Normal location
GO1 2 New emerging Tusker added to database 21/11/17
TA1 3 New emerging Tusker added to database 24/11/17
WA1 3 New emerging Tusker added to database 25/10/17
F_DI1 1 Normal location
Total 13 bulls, 1 cow: 36 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 newly identified emerging “Tusker” on 21st November 2017 coded as GO1.
(Photo courtesy of Joseph Kyalo Kimaile – Head of Tsavo Trust Research)

Emerging “Tusker” on 21st November 2017 coded as GO1. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Kyalo Kimaile – Head of Tsavo Trust Research) 

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 – Nil

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, KMC, Ngutuni, Kilifi and 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 paths November 2017November 2017 flight paths over Tsavo:

86 hours flown, 6,421 miles covered

Supporting KWS activities:
• Air and ground operations
• Big Tusker monitoring
• Illegal livestock
• Wildlife monitoring
• Aerial census

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.

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 men + 3 KWS men)


18 20 Nil Confidential 1 3,736
Tembo 3 Kamungi
(12 men)
30 1
- 1 14kg - 5 Dikdiks Confidential Nil 3,178
Chui team
- - - - - - - -
TOTALS 60 3 18 20 As above As above 1 6,914
Totals 2017 616 44 106 863 - - 39 73,043

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 – 15 sightings with 3 emerging Tuskers added to database
  • Hirola – 9 sightings
  • Grevy’s Zebra – 7 sightings
  • Large Carnivores – 18 sightings
  • Road and Rail kills - 2
TENP, Voi River, Satao, Buchuma, Dakota, Ndara, Aruba, Manyani, KMC, Lugards, Koitu, Emusaya, Galana River, Msa Rd., Dida Harea 4,320 
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 – 7 sightings
  • Rhino – capture exercise - 24 immobilized
  • Large Carnivores – 4 sightings
  • Road and Rail kills - 0
TWNP, Kamboyo, Mangalete, Kilaguni, Mzima, Shetani, Finch Hatton's, Ziwani, Kitani, Tsavo River, Rhino Valley, IPZ, NRS 2,146
 TOTALS  45  As above  As above  As above  6,376
 Total 2017  316  -  -  51,424

Other Tsavo Trust Activities in Brief:

Photo below taken on 21st November 2017 during the KWS / ZSL rhino capture exercise where Tsavo Trust played a support role with fixed wing aircraft for 48 hours flying covering 3,603 miles and also one 4 x 4 vehicle and Tembo 4 team as ground support.

KWS ZSL Rhino capture exercise in Tsavo West National Park - November 2017

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 casuals employees monthly, all from this community), HWC, water projects and much more. Tsavo Trust employs a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) to help coordinate activities:

  • Kamungi Water Project – Official opening took place on 4th November 2017. Tsavo Trust Chairman – Hon. Nzioki Wa Makau and Mtito Andei Chief Paul Luvai officially opened this community project. Local County Officials (MCA), Kamungi Conservancy Chairman – Raphael Kivuva, KWS Community Dept. staff from TWNP and over 250 local community members were present. The opening was followed by the traditional “Nyama Choma” (roast goat meat) and various drinks at Ngiluni Village.

Kamungi Conservancy water project opening Hon. Nzioki wa Makau and Chief Paul LuvaiKamungi Conservancy Water Project opening on 4th November 2017. Officially opened by Hon. Nzioki wa Makau (TT Chairman - middle) and Paul Luvai (local area Chief - right). 





Photo below shows ladies collecting water from the Kamungi Conservancy 100,000ltr water tank in back ground. The local inhabitants of Ngiluni village are now saved many kilometers of walking to get water for domestic use as they once had to do. This supply is clean water and not unhygienic as was the case before this joint Kamungi Conservancy / Tsavo Trust project began.

Kamungi Conservancy water tank in Ngiluni village - Tsavo Conservation Area

 Solar Panel Donation – With generous support from Tsavo Trust Founding Board Member – Stuart Herd, solar panels were donated to the Ngiluni Dispensary for lighting up the delivery room as well as a solar charging system for mobile phones and other needs, placed at the water dispensing kiosk at Ngiluni for community member use.

Tsavo trust board member Stuart Herd donating solar panel to Ngiluni Dispensary in Kamungi Conservancy15th November 2017, Tsavo Trust Board Member Stuart Herd, here donating solar lighting equipment to the Ngiluni Dispensary nurse – Margaret for use in the delivery room.






Animal Welfare Program: LEOPARD RELEASE PROGRAM:

  • “Dotty”  the female leopard is now 19 months old. She has been fully wild and fending for herself for over 3 months now. Unfortunately, on 21st November 2017, Dotty managed to drop her satellite collar! This is not unusual for leopards following collaring and release. We soon realized something was not right as a “stagnant collar fix” was observed by the Tsavo Trust team who have monitored her daily via computer since release. A ground team was dispatched immediately to the location just south of the Tsavo River and her intact collar was recovered.
    Dotty has been observed again briefly since dropping the collar, in good health, and north of the Tsavo River in TWNP. Although approval to re-collar has been given, the opportunity to do so has not yet presented itself. We will keep trying.
  • “Sophie” is the second leopard under rehabilitation by Tsavo Trust. Her release site boma is under construction now deep in TWNP and she will be moved there in early 2018.


With the recent and long-awaited rains having fallen over Tsavo, many not-so common creatures appear, here a Graceful Chameleon (chameleon gracilis)
This particular specimen was observed on 15th November 2017 at TT HQ.

Graceful chameleon after the rains in Tsavo

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), USAID / DOI, Tusk Trust UK and USA, Stuart Herd, Sir Colin Southgate, Nick Southgate, Alex Graham, Dr. David K.P. Li, Nick Powell, James Robertson, International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Woodtiger Fund, Markus Jebsen, Ndovu Trust (UK), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, The Davies Family, The Leopardess Foundation (Nicole Honegger), Paul Block, International Elephant Foundation (IEF), Disney/Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Mike Kirkland/Torben Rune - Satao Camp (Tsavo East) & 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 – InsidersAfrica, Simon Herd, 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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