Tsavo Trust is a young organisation. We were founded in 2013, with the express aim of preserving Tsavo’s ‘super tuskers’ – those majestic elephants with tusks so long they scrape along the ground, sometimes weighing over 100lbs.
We wanted to protect these animals in particular because of two reasons. Firstly, their genes are hugely valuable to the elephant community. ‘Super tuskers’ often have interesting and elevated positions in the social hierarchy of elephants. They are seen as authoritative figures by all elephants, some would even describe them as elephant royalty.
The second reason we pay particular attention to these ‘super tuskers’ is because they need it more than the others. These huge tusks that they previously used to protect themselves now put them in extreme danger. Unfortunately, these animals are targeted by poachers as each tusk can be sold for a large fortune.
We have learned so much since our inception in 2013. With all this learning, we have used our influence and position to branch out into more areas of conservation. We are particularly proud of our partnership with the Kamungi Conservancy which has seen us help foster increased ties with the local community and promote solutions to occasions of human-wildlife conflict.
The Tsavo Trust logo
The Tsavo Trust logo traces back to the early days of our organisation. The logo is a stylised tracing of KENANI, a ‘super tusker’ that was spotted by our founder, Richard Moller many years ago.
When Richard showed images of KENANI to conservationists in Nairobi and abroad, they didn’t believe there were elephants with tusks this big. Well, in the months and years succeeding this, Richard and his team were able to find 14 more elephants with tusks like KENANI’s.
This experience helped convince Richard that the founding of Tsavo Trust was the right thing to do. The remaining ‘super tuskers’ needed to be protected, for themselves and for future elephant populations.
Since our founding, we, along with the fantastic team at KWS, have paid close attention to the ‘super tuskers.’ We have learned so much about the unique issues in protecting these majestic creatures. Firstly, whilst it helps for us to monitor their whereabouts and track their movements, this information is also highly confidential and can be deadly should it fall into the wrong hands. We need to be extremely careful with the information we distribute in order to protect these animals from poachers.
Furthermore, these ‘super tuskers’ can seriously roam. Unlike our reliable but cumbersome ground vehicles, they can go anywhere. Some of the terrain in the TCA is completely unnavigable, but not for these elephants. That’s why our Super Cub aircraft, and the Avgas we buy with the donations we receive, are so important to conservation.
The Kamungi Conservancy
As mentioned earlier, we have learned a lot since our inception. A lot of this learning has culminated in the creation and continued support of the Kamungi Conservancy. Located on the northern boundary of the Tsavo East National Park, between Mtito Andei to the west and the Athi River to the east, the conservancy acts as a vital buffer zone that prevents poachers from entering the park and killing endangered wildlife.
This area of Tsavo is harsh and barren and many of its inhabitants are impoverished. Poverty often leads to poaching as people become desperate and the fortune that can be made from an elephant tusk becomes enticing. The Kamungi Conservancy is designed to educate the community and provide more income streams for the local community.
This is a key feature of ending human-wildlife conflict and helping to protect not just the ‘super tuskers’ but all of Tsavo’s wildlife. At Tsavo Trust, we have big plans for the Kamungi Conservancy including promoting ecotourism with the aim of providing employment, education, and bringing agricultural expertise to the area.
We are so proud of our work in the Kamungi Conservancy and it is a clear sign of how we have developed as an organisation. We went from saving ‘super tuskers’ like KENANI to ending poverty in key areas of Tsavo, all with the aim of preserving Kenya’s much-cherished wildlife.