April’s Aerial Chronicles: Enforcement And Wildlife Exploration In Kenya’s Conservation Areas

In April 2023, the Aerial Unit in Kenya’s conservation zones remained vigilant despite a slight dip in illegal activities compared to previous months. Pilots diligently conducted patrols and provided crucial support to ground operations.

In Tsavo West National Park, the allure of recent rains and lush vegetation attracted over 10,000 cattle, posing a persistent challenge.

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Collaborative efforts between the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) utilized aerial surveillance to locate the livestock, aiding KWS ground operations in addressing the issue effectively.

Fewer incidents of livestock intrusion were reported in Tsavo East, although those involved more significant numbers venturing deeper into the park. Nevertheless, by month-end, most of the livestock had been removed.

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Throughout April, reports of orphaned or abandoned elephants in the Tsavo Conservation Area persisted.

Wildlife rescues included a week-old calf trapped in a dam near Kasigau and another rescued after wandering into a livestock enclosure near Rukinga Ranch. The collaborative efforts of organizations like SWT and KWS were instrumental in these rescues.

The Aerial Unit’s routine patrols also led to the discovery and treatment of injured elephants, including bull elephants with arrow wounds.

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Additionally, elephant carcasses with intact tusks and a piece of broken ivory were found, underscoring the ongoing threat of poaching.

Observations revealed charcoal burning outside the parks, particularly on the Galana and Kulalu Ranches.

Despite efforts to combat illegal activities, instances of mining for precious gems, poaching harbors, marijuana plots, logging, and illicit fishing persisted.

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The month’s highlight was the abundant rainfall, leading to plentiful water and browsing in the parks, thus reducing human-elephant conflict cases.

Wildlife sightings flourished, with elephants venturing far and wide, buffalo sightings in unusual areas, and multiple encounters with lions and honey badgers, making April a memorable month for wildlife enthusiasts.

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