From high above the Tsavo landscape, the aerial unit provides a unique perspective on the increasing struggles wildlife faces due to the relentless advance of drought.
Each passing month deepens the dryness, making survival a daunting task for animals.
The Aerial Unit’s vigilant eyes reveal a landscape where pockets of browse remain, but the fight for survival intensifies.
The harsh drought conditions have led to a surge in illegal activities, demanding constant vigilance from the Aerial Unit.
Livestock incursions, a persistent issue, escalated along the Tiva River and the southern sector of Tsavo West National Park.
In response, KWS rangers established a temporary camp in one of the most affected areas, significantly reducing the number of livestock within the park.
Illegal grazing also sparked bushfires in the Chyulu Hills, suspected to be set by herders seeking better grazing conditions.
Additionally, the Aerial Unit identified widespread illegal logging activities, primarily in the northern sector of Tsavo East National Park and east of the park on Kulalu Ranch.
Charcoal-burning camps, kilns, and sacks ready for collection were discovered, highlighting the interconnected challenges of bushmeat poaching.
Amidst these challenges, the Aerial Unit was crucial in rescuing two orphaned elephants in August.
Unfortunately, one calf found on Kuku Ranch succumbed to its weakened state despite emergency care.
The second, a very young calf stuck in a drying waterhole near Voi, was successfully transported to the Nairobi Nursery, where it continues to receive care and rehabilitation.
Human-wildlife conflict remains a significant challenge, with the Aerial Unit responding to three incidents in August.
Swift aerial intervention facilitated three successful veterinary cases in a single day, addressing arrow wounds in two adult elephants and removing a snare from an elephant calf.
While no fresh carcasses were observed during the month, the Aerial Unit located two very old elephant carcasses with intact ivory near Satao Lodge in Tsavo East, ensuring the collection and handover of the ivory to KWS in Voi.
August also witnessed an urgent medivac mission, transporting KWS veterinarian Dr. Jeremiah Poghon to Karen Hospital in Nairobi after a tragic vehicle accident during an operation in Tsavo East, resulting in the loss of one team member.
Despite the challenges, notable wildlife sightings added a touch of positivity, including encounters with lions, striped hyenas, a pair of wild dogs, and the elusive honey badger.
The Aerial Unit’s unwavering commitment continues to be a beacon of hope for Kenya’s wildlife, providing crucial assistance and surveillance in the face of mounting challenges.
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