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Elephant Year Review R

Elephant conservation: the Tsavo Trust’s year in review

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As we come to the close of 2022, we wanted to finish our year by devoting our last two weekly bulletins toward giving you the most up-to-date run down of all things elephant conservation.

Last week, we wrote an article detailing on the important facts as they relate to elephant and their protection, continent-wide. This week, we wanted to give you a run-down of what we have completed here in the Tsavo Conservation Area.

Community support framework: strengthening and developing

An essential and increasingly important part of any wildlife conservation strategy in any part of the world is ensuring that growing human populations have the security and capacity to live peaceably alongside animal neighbours.

Here in Tsavo, ensuring that there are viable and attractive pathways toward cohabitation has lengthily been a priority of ours. On this front, 2022 saw huge and influential in-roads.

Tsavo Trust organised donations toward education ensured that five students graduated to form 2 without being sent home for a lack of fee-funding. Furthermore, 60 farmers were educated on climate-conscious agricultural methods. The provision of funding for training and educational needs such as these releases a degree of pressure from breadwinning family members.

Tsavo Trust provisions provided for the creation of 30 25,000 litre capacity water pans. This capacity storage of 750,000 litres worth of rainwater should, once the rains have filled them, provide an essential stopgap against shortages in the future.

Support to KWS

Year on year, we strive to continuously advance the cause of our collaborators. The Kenya Wildlife Services are the cornerstone of wildlife conservation here in this country and it is a pleasure to serve alongside them whenever we can.

The nature of our collaboration is constantly changing and it is our aim that our support for the KWS grows each year. This year, we’ve doubled our supportive capacity. With more vehicles and greater funding put toward the establishment of ranger outposts, the Tsavo Trust is now in a better place than ever to support this incredible organisation in the important work that it does.

Human-elephant conflict

One of the more important measurables relating to modern elephant conservation is the instance rate of human-elephant conflict. Many of our regular readers will know that we have put a great deal of resources into efforts that ease friction between elephant and humans.

In fact, the creation of more secure water sources, such as the earlier mentioned salt pans, is one such measure. Water security is as important to elephant as it is human beings, and the lack there of puts pressure on this close-neighbouring relationship. Our water pans are designed to ensure that the need for water doesn’t push community members into the protected areas in its search.

We credit another one of our conflict-alleviating works – the fences we’ve constructed around plots in the Kamungi and Shirango communities – with hugely reducing HEC. Between January and October of this year, we were needed in pushing only 184 elephant off of farms in the TCA. Last year, our services were required to do the same thing 1,679 times.

If we use this as a metric for measuring HEC, that is an 89% reduction and its something we are very proud of.

Key conservation statistics:

As we do each and every year, we’ve kept an accounting of our groundwork. We’ve recovered 2,216 kgs of bushmeat, 1646 snares and 94 ivory tusks from fallen elephant. We also played a part, in conjunction with the KWS, in 202 arrests, ensuring that punitive measures against poaching remain robustly enforced.

These are important numbers obviously. However, they must be considered only as measurable statistics in our real goal: ensuring Tsavo’s wild animals are allowed the ability to live, and die, in as organic a fashion as is possible in this modern world.

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