Monthly Report: October 2017

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

Activity Hours Flown Miles Covered

Aerial Reconnaissance

 

60 (711 for year)
Average 73 mph of low level flight

 

4,376 (52,835 for year)
Flights carried out jointly with KWS staff

  No. Observed
Big "Tuskers"   10 Tuskers - 8 bulls (4 Super Tuskers and 3 emerging Tuskers) and 2 cows
  No. Recovered
Ivory Recovered   72 elephant tusks (169 for year to date - largest 53.5 and 52.5kg)

Elephant Carcasses

Fresh (less than 3 weeks old) Recent (less than 3 months old)
   42 (c of d: 41 natural, 1 poached)  (c of d: 1 natural)
Carcasses / hours flown 1 every 1.4 hours of flight
Poachers camps and hides/blinds/platforms Fresh - 4  Recent - Nil
Arrests   3 - by KWS / Tsavo Trust – (3 bushmeat poachers - 95 for year to date)
Snares/traps recovered   91 (by Tembo Teams - 843 for year to date )
Response/support to KWS - armed incidents  1 ( 7 for year to date)
Other Illegal actvities 3 cattle bomas (250 plus cows, 1,000 shoats, 10 people)
Written reports to KWS 56 (daily emails, various reports, various communications and 1 monthly report)
General and significant notes
  • Serious drought conditions; 42 elephant deaths (natural) recorded from drought

  • 12/10/17: Cow Tusker called “Mudanda” died naturally from drought in TENP

  • Aerial and ground support for rhino security ongoing through partnership with KWS / ZSL rhino program. 10 rhino specific recce flights carried out with KWS

Good bye “Mudanda”; this photo shows the splendor of late Cow Tusker called “Mudanda” in late August 2017 (courtesy of Will Burrard-Lucas). This magnificent elephant was first recorded by Tsavo Trust / KWS Big Tusker Project on 7th December 2014. Since then Mudanda had been observed 77 times which equates to 1 sighting every 14 days over the last 3 years. She sadly succumbed to the recent drought and was found dead on 12th October 2017. Both tusks were recovered by joint KWS / Tsavo Trust ground team

Good bye “Mudanda”; this photo shows the splendor of late Cow Tusker called “Mudanda” in late August 2017 (courtesy of Will Burrard-Lucas).

Wildlife Conservation Program

Big Tusker Project - aerial and ground teams:

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.
  • 4 bull Super Tuskers – 8 different sightings.
  • 4 Emerging bull Tuskers – 15 sightings.
  • 2 iconic cow Tuskers – 7 sightings.
  • Total sightings – 30
  • 12/10/17: Cow Tusker called “Mudanda” found dead having died naturally from drought conditions. Both tusks were recovered by joint KWS / Tsavo Trust ground team. She first recorded by Tsavo Trust / KWS Big Tusker Project on 7th December 2014. Since then Mudanda has been observed 77 times which equates to 1 sighting every 14 days over the last 3 years.
  • Weather conditions: Exceedingly dry in most parts especially TENP and strong winds. Buildup of rain in last week of month.

 - Elephant mortality: 43 carcasses located (42 fresh, 1 recent): High number of carcasses found due to the severe drought. 42 confirmed natural death and 1 poached outside of Park.

 - Rhino security:  10 rhino specific aerial recces took place with KWS / Tsavo Trust aircraft in TWNP covering 1,804 miles over 26 hours. Tsavo Trust’s - Tembo 3 and 4 teams sustained support to KWS rhino program in the TW IPZ, where a 3-way partnership; KWS / ZSL and Tsavo Trust continues.

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

Tusker Code No. Times
Seen / Month
Remarks
BULLS   
LU1 5 In good health but requents an unsafe area!
SL1 1 In worrying and unsafe location on the Park boundary!
IL1 1 In a worrying and unsafe location on the Park boundary!
WS1 1 In a worrying and unsage remote location outside the Park!
MA1 4 Normal location
KI1 6 Normal location
HA1 1 Moved big distances
MU1 4 In a worrying and unsafe location outside the Park!
COWS   
F_DI1 5 Normal location
F_XT 2 Normal area
Total 8 bulls, 2 cows: 30 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.

 This grizzly photo shows 2 elephant carcasses by Aruba bore hole in TENP having died in the recent drought.
These were just 2 of the 18 found in this desolate area in October alone (nearly 50% of all carcasses located were found in this vicinity!

Elephant carcasses by Aruba bore hole Tsavo East photo by Richard Moller 

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 & 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 October 2017October 2017 flight paths over Tsavo:August 2017 flight paths over Tsavo: 60 hours flown, 4,376 miles covered

Supporting KWS activities:
• Anti-poaching
• 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 anti-poaching focused whilst Tembo 2 and Tembo 4 teams are 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
(7 men + 3 KWS men)
31 1 22 90 12kg Dikdiks x 5 2 bicycles, 2 pangas, 2 lamping horns, 2 lamping spot lights, cooking equip. 3 4,011
Tembo 3 Kamungi
(12 men)
31 2 - 1 46kg - 21 Dikdiks, 1 Impala 2 lamping torches, 1 slasher, 2 lamping horns, 1 knife 1 2,772
Others
Chui team
- - - - - - - -
TOTALS 62 3 22 91 As above As above 4 6,783
Totals 2017 556 41 88 843 - - 38 66,129

Photo of 1 arrested bushmeat poacher with 11 freshly poached dikdiks & 1 impala on 22nd October 2017 by joint KWS / Tsavo Trust Tembo 3 team (Kamungi Scouts) in TWNP.

 Photo of 1 arrested bushmeat poacher with 11 freshly poached dikdiks and 1 impala on 22nd October 2017 by joint KWS - Tsavo Trust Tembo 3 team

 

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)

 25
  • Tusker monitoring
  • Hirola monitoring
  • Grevy's zebra monitoring
  • Carnivore monitoring
  • Mombasa/Nairobi - Road and SGR kill surveys
  • Camera trap surveys
  • Fixed point photos
  • Tuskers – 10 sightings
  • Hirola – 9 sightings
  • Grevy’s Zebra – 6 sightings
  • Large Carnivores – 24 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 4,535 
Tembo 4
(2 Tsavo Trust staff + 2 KWS)
30
  • Tusker monitoring
  • Rhino monitoring
  • Carnivore monitoring
  • Mombasa/Nairobi - Road and SGR kill surveys
  • Camera trap surveys
  • Fixed point photos
  • Tuskers – 13 sightings
  • Rhino – various and NRS night census - 84
  • Large Carnivores – 9 sightings
  • Road and Rail kills - 0
TWNP, Kamboyo, Mangalete, Kilaguni, Mzima, Shetani, Finch H, Ziwani, Kitani, Tsavo River, Rhino Valley, IPZ, NRS 2,082
 TOTALS  44  As above  As above  As above  6,617
 Total 2017  271  -  -  45,048

Other Tsavo Trust Activities in Brief:

New Tsavo Trust HQ: 
Through generous funding support from the Oak Foundation, channeled through ZSL, and various other Tsavo Trust supporters, the Tsavo Trust’s new headquarters are finally complete. Work on this started in early 2017 and we moved in at the end of October 2017. This fantastic new facility gives a “face to Tsavo Trust” and provides ample office space, meeting area, operations room, strong room and storage to expand into. A vital step in Tsavo Trust’s continued development.

Completed new Tsavo Trust headquarters, 31st October 2017

Completed Tsavo Trust headquarters, Kamungi Conservancy

  • Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) – Funding for a 5th elephant / bee fence has been received under the Elephant and Bees Project (pioneered by Lucy King and Save The Elephants). This new fence will be set up in October prior to the rainy season.

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 date has been set for 4th November 2017, but the important thing is water is flowing and available. This project has taken 9 months to complete at a cost of US$ 70,000. Finally, the members of what is “Kamungi Conservancy” incorporating Ngiluni and Kamunyu villages have clean water on tap. Membership of Kamungi Conservancy now represents over 700 individuals and increasing.

Photo shows 2 happy Kamungi kiddies enjoying water on tap for the first time on 31st October 2017 at the water dispensing kiosk at Ngiluni village.
A 100,000-litre water storage tank has also been constructed at this location and a half acre plot fenced off which will house a tree nursery before long.

Kamungi kiddies enjoying water on tap for the first time

  • Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) – With the start of the rainy season kicking in elephant crop raiders are expected to increase once crops mature. This will be a serious challenge for KWS and Tsavo Trust along the Kamungi Conservancy boundary with TENP. The Kamungi Scouts and their vehicle will be kept busy at night for sure.

Animal Welfare Program: LEOPARD RELEASE PROGRAM:

  • “Dotty” the female leopard is now 18 months old. She has been fully wild and fending for herself for over 2 months now. Her satellite collar is providing extraordinary information and has enabled us to track her with relative ease. A component that is so vital given that her release area is largely road-less and harsh terrain, making it very challenging to know her movements without such a collar. She has crossed the SGR and highway between TENP and TWNP and covered big distances, but always returns to her release boma. She has been camera trap photo’d here and looks in very good condition. A male leopard was also captured on camera trap on one of the same nights that Dotty visited so “something maybe in the air”.
  • “Sophie” is the second leopard under rehabilitation by Tsavo Trust. Approvals have been given to establish a release boma at an ideal location deep in TWNP. Materials for this have been purchased and construction will start in early November.

UNUSUAL PHOTO OF THE MONTH:

Photo shows a Sand-Boa – a common, but not often seen, resident snake in the Tsavo region. This one having just caught a gecko. The snake quickly disappeared underground once the gecko had been eaten whole.

Sand Boas (Eryx colubrinus loveridgei) are not poisonous and are constrictors.

Photo shows a Sand-Boa – a common, but not often seen, resident snake in the Tsavo region.

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 UK & 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, 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 & 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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