AERIAL SURVEILLANCE UNIT MONTHLY REPORT
Areas of focus included Tsavo East NP and Tsavo West NP, the TCA Ranches, and Lamu.
MONTHLY AERIAL ROUTES
The rains began mid-month across Tsavo East and West National Parks. By November 14th the Tiva River was already flowing. A trip was made to Project Amu in Lamu District to survey the encroachment of illegal land grabbing in the southern parts of the Lamu ecosystem. Officials from the Kenya Forest Service were flown over the area in the DSWTâ€™s Cessna 185, assisting them to observe the strategic points to place their ground rangers to tackle the challenges.
MONTHLY FLYING SYNOPSIS
Three of the DSWTâ€™s oldest elephant orphans were moved from the Nairobi Nursery to the Ithumba stockades during the month. Shortly after arriving they were caught out during a huge electrical storm which caused the group they were in to panic. The keepers lost contact with them during the storm and they disappeared into the bush. It took the DSWT aircraft 14hrs to find them again, with all troops on the ground mobilized.
A lion was found trapped in a well this month on the Tiva River. It was thin and only hanging on to life because of water in the bottom of the well. Unfortunately a couple of days later the lion died despite the DSWTâ€™s anti-poaching unit attempting to strengthen it up with a goat before a rescue mission could take place. The same day a wounded baby elephant was sighted on the Galana River downstream of Lugards Falls. After the team swam across the crocodile and hippo infested river with the DSWT vet and his two rangers , the team darted the mother so they could get near the calf. Unfortunately its front knee was beyond repair and they had to euthanize the calf. The mother was still asleep so she was spared the trauma of her babyâ€™s slow death and soon moved off to join her herd once she woke up.
Additional areas covered by air this month include Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary where a large number of rhino are protected by KWS; Salt Lick Lodge area where an abandoned baby elephant was reported by a tourist van driver, but nothing was found; Taita Ranch where gunshots were reported but nothing found. A baby elephant was rescued just north of Voi and its dead mother found nearby. Tha cause of death of the mother was unknown as the tusks were still intact. He baby was rescued by the Voi Keepers and taken to Voi Stockades. As the rains have set in all our teams are on duty until the end of the year. Although poaching is expected to lessen during the wetter month of November and December due to manpower needed in the fields, the elephant poaching continues. Christmas and New Year are also busy times for bush meat dealers. More information about the DSWTâ€™s Anti-Poaching program and each teamâ€™s monthly report can be found at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
Reported by Nick Trent Field Operations Manager, DSWT Photographs copyright ÂŠ 2013 The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust