Monthly Report: September 2016

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Activity Hours Flown Miles Covered

Aerial Reconnaissance


55 (518 hrs for year to date)
Average 75 mph of low level flight


4,030 (39,155 miles for year to date)
Flights carried out jointly with KWS staff

  No. Observed
Large "Tuskers"   19 Tuskers - 14 bulls (7 Super Tuskers and 7 emerging Tuskers) and 5 cows
  No. Recovered
Ivory Recovered   8 tusks (43 for year to date)

Elephant Carcasses

Fresh Recent
   5 (2 natural, 2 unconfirmed, 1 poached)  2 (2 natural)
Poachers camps and hides/blinds/platforms  Nil  Nil
Carcasses/hours flown   1 every 7.8 hours of flight
Arrests   10 - Made by KWS and Kamungi Scouts – (10 hard wood, 1 charcoal)
Snares/traps recovered   15 (by Tsavo Trust/Kamungi Scouts – 772 for the year)
Response/support to KWS - armed incidents   Nil (2 for year to date)
Other Illegal actvities   9 cattle bomas (16,200 plus cows and 33+ people seen)
General important/relevant notes   
  • 1/9/16: Assisted KWS TWNP following KWS aircraft accident at Kanjaro (no injuries thankfully) with immediate air transport
  • 11/9/16: Assisted KWS with immediate air evacuation following serious injuries to KWS Ranger in TENP after he was hit by a rhino
  • 16/9/16: Cow Tusker F_SA1 passed away, natural cause - old age, leaving young calf. TT informed KWS and DSWT for baby ele. collection
  • 24/9/16: TT took part in World Whino Day event in Voi town
  • Kamungi Scouts carried out 15 dys of joint anti-poaching ops with KWS in TWNP with 10 arrests made
  • Aerial support pertaining to rhino security in TW and TE and continued partnership with KWS and ZSL re rhino programs in TCA
  • Ongoing joint KWS/TT predator and endangered species monitoring, TENP

Photo of the iconic Tsavo Tusker coded as SA2 being shielded by one of his younger “askaris” (watchmen). Over the last 1,000 days (33 months), SA2 has been observed 151 times either from the Tsavo Trust/KWS joint ground teams or from the air. This equates to 1 observation every week.

Tusker SA_2 shielded  by 'Askari'

Big Tusker Project - aerial and ground teams (Tembo 2):

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

  • Total of 19 different individual Tusker’s were observed from ground and air coverage
  • 7 bull Super Tuskers – 36 different sightings
  • 7 emerging Tuskers – 16 sightings
  • 5 iconic cow Tuskers – 7 sightings
  • Total sightings – 59
  • Loss of Cow Tusker F_SA1 – Tsavo Trust’s Tembo 2 ground team found her collapsed but still just alive on 16/9/16 in TENP. She sadly died shortly afterwards leaving a young 1 year old calf behind. Cause of death: old age and severe dry spell. KWS vet unit was immediately notified and also DSWT who later came and collected the young calf for hand rearing. F_SA1 was reported in Tsavo Trust August16 report as looking very old and frail (see photo below).

 - Rhino security: Ongoing partnership between KWS, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Tsavo Trust regarding rhino areas within the TCA. 8 specific rhino recce flights took place- covering parts of TWNP NRS, TW IPZ and TENP IPZ, including air evacuation of seriously injured Ranger in TENP following having been hit by a rhino (he has recovered well thankfully).

collapsed cow tusker f sa1This photo shows the collapsed cow Tusker F_SA1, taken by Kyalo Kimaile, who heads the Tsavo Trust’s Tembo 2 Team, on 16th September 2016 in TENP. Behind her is her little calf. She died naturally of old age. elephant lower jaw very clearly shows tooth wear This photo of F_SA1’s lower jaw very clearly shows the tooth wear that has taken shape over many years. Probably well over 50 years of age? What a story she could have told?

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

Tusker Code No. Times
Seen / Month
LU1 7 Crosses SGR regularly. Frequents an unsafe area!
SA2 Moved back to normal location
KA1 7 Moved back to normal dry season location 
IL1 Lives in very difficult area to locate, no roads and lots of lave and thick bush
D11 7 Normal area and a real creature of habit. Looking very old and frail
BA1 Moving large distances to water.Not in safe area!
WS1 4 Back inside Park
BU1 1 Roams far and wide
MA1 3 Back to normal location
SA80 5 Back to normal area
AR1 Back to normal area
KI1 Back to normal location
EM1 Moves long distances to water. Not in safe area!
KO1 Moves long distances to water. Not in safe area!
F_DI1 1 Back to her normal location
F_MU1 2 Back to her normal area
F_VPL Has moved big distances
F_KA1 Has moved long distances
F_SA1 Died naturally of old age 16/9/16 TENP
Total 14 bulls, 5, cows: 59 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 of the iconic bull “Tusker” coded as KA1, taken on 24th September, here enjoying a mud bath. Tsavo is currently in the throws of a very dry spell and several elephant have succumbed as a result.

Iconic bull Tusker KA1

Areas Covered: Table below 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
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, Mombasa Highway, Man Easters, Kenani, Kanga, Manyani north and west, SGR line

TENP border – Ngiluni/Kamunyu, Kilalinda, Kulalu, Derea, Murondo, Magram/Dakota Ranch, Ngutuni
TWNP border – Rombo
Chyulu Hills NP – Il Talal
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 September 2016 where 55 hours were flown in support to KWS for anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring across 4,030 miles over the Tsavo’s

Tsavo Trust flight paths September 2016

Kamungi Conservancy:

Kamungi Scouts – Following one week off duty (1st to 7th Sept16) the Kamungi Scouts were active on patrol alongside KWS, mainly in TWNP. Only 15 snares for small and medium game recovered and 10 arrests made for wood and charcoaling. Notable activities:

  • 9th to 14th: 10 arrests (14/9/16) made in TWNP, Mangalete line for illegal wood collection and charcoal burning.
  • 15th to 22nd – Scouts performed bush road clearing in a specified section of the TENP Triangle following relevant permissions.
  • 23rd to 26th: 3 consecutive nights of joint KWS/TT night ambushes in TWNP following finding tracks of poachers. No encounters or arrests made.
  • 27th to 30th: Joint KWS/TT cattle drive in the Ziwani areas with at least 3,000 cows being pushed out of Park. 

Photo shows a freshly strangled dikdik caught in a snare

Photo shows a freshly strangled dikdik caught in a snare. The dikdik has been partially eaten by another predator.

Endangered species/Predator Monitoring – support to KWS/TCA Research Departments

Predators Observed from the air and Tembo 2 ground unit:

Date Lion Leopard Cheetah Wild Dog Serval Others Remarks
3/9/16 - - - 9 - - TENP
6/9/16 11 (3F, 8 cubs) 1 (M) - - - - TENP and TWNP
7/9/16 5 - - - - - TENP
8/9/16 1 (F) - 3 - - - TENP
9/9/16 5 + 6 - - - - - TENP
10/9/16 2 (F) - - - - - TENP
11/9/16 - 1 (M) - - - - TWNP
15/9/16 2 (M) - - - - - TENP
16/9/16 4 + 2 (1M, 1F) - - - - - TENP 
17/9/16 1 (F) 1 (F) - - - - TENP
19/9/16 - - - 9 (7 pups) - -  
20/9/16 1 (F) +  4 cubs - - - - - TENP
26/9/16 2 (M) 2 (F) - - - - - TENP
29/9/16 4 - 3 - - - TENP
Totals 52 3 6 18 - -  

Critically Endangered Species Observed from air and Tembo 2 (not incl. rhino or wild dog):

Tsavo Trust’s Tembo 2 team operates in partnership with TENP Research and Monitoring unit and covers predator and endangered species monitoring as well as Big Tusker Monitoring. Grevy’s zebra monitoring is regularly carried out, whereby information gathered from the field on rear right side strip patterns feed into the Grevy’s zebra database for individual ID purposes. To date at least 33 individuals have been ID’d as a result and still counting. Tsavo also holds approximately 70 critically endangered Hirola. It is believe that fewer than 500 individuals remain on earth.

Date Hirola Grevy's Zebra Others/Remarks
5/9/16 1 - TENP
7/9/16 - 4+4 KMC Ranch
14/9/16 - 1 KMC Ranch
16/9/16 2+1 - TENP, Mukuaju
17/9/16 9+15 - TENP, Konu Moja
19/9/16 10+7 - TENP, Mukuanju
20/9/16 8 1 TENP, Mukuaja and Buchuma
28/9/16 - 5+2+2 Ranches, Taita, Rukinga
Total sightings 53 18  33 GZ positively ID'd to date

Unusual Photo of the Month:

Photo, taken in late September 2016, shows an aerial view of the Tsavo River (brown water) junction with Athi River (green and heavily polluted).

Is this an “algal bloom”? Or is it much worse. Considering what goes into the Athi River from Nairobi, it suggests we have a much larger environmental issue to address.

Photo, taken in late September 2016, shows an aerial view of the Tsavo River (brown water) junction with Athi River (green and heavily polluted).

With thanks and appreciation to:

Kenya Wildlife Service, Save The Elephants/Wildlife, Conservation Network Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), Stuart Herd, Nick Southgate, James Robertson, Tusk Trust UK & USA, The Woodtiger Fund, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Zoological Society of London, Ndovu Trust (UK), US State Dept., Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Wines of the World Ltd, Africa Spirits Ltd, Mike Kirkland/Torben Rune, Satao Camp (Tsavo East) and Southern Cross Safaris (Msa), Tropical Ice Ltd, International Foundation for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Salama Fikira, Ian Craig, The Art of BAS & Oak Furniture Ltd (UK), Geri Bauer, Kathy Snowden, Murray Grant, Simon Herd, Saving the Survivors, Karen Laurence-Rowe, OnSafari Kenya Ltd, Anadarko Kenya Co., Askari Project – Australia, Chris Acreman, Paul & James Wilson, Eaton Electric, Enable Green Energy, 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 2016

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