The February 2019 Aerial Surveillance Report has unveiled a worrisome rise in poaching activities within Tsavo National Park.
The report, which documented the month’s events, revealed the grim discovery of four elephant carcasses during this period.
Disturbingly, poachers were attempting to remove tusks from two of these fresh carcasses.
On a brighter note, a dedicated team intervened to treat several injured elephants, successfully removing arrows, pus, and necrotic tissue from their wounds.
Despite the graphic nature of these treatments, there’s hope, as all but one of the elephants received a favorable prognosis for recovery.
The remaining elephant, initially guarded due to the severity of its wound, showed positive signs of recovery upon subsequent observations.
Throughout the month, the aerial surveillance helicopter was actively engaged in providing support to both the veterinary unit and responding to four separate incidents of human-wildlife conflict. One of these calls necessitated assistance near Kimana Sanctuary.
Toward the end of the month, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and the Mount Kenya Trust reached out for assistance in managing multiple fires that had ravaged the moorland and forests within Mount Kenya National Park.
Two massive fires posed a significant threat to the mountain, one on its northeastern side and another on its southeastern side.
Over two days, the helicopter tirelessly dropped water for a total of 10 hours on the northeastern fire while also coordinating ground crews along the fire line.
The helicopter played a crucial role during the month in rescuing two orphaned elephants, ensuring their safe transport to the Trust’s nursery. Tragically, one of the orphans was in critical condition and could not be saved.
Additionally, the helicopter was instrumental in darting an elephant with a spear wound, believed to be a consequence of human-wildlife conflict near Ol Donyo Wuas.
The aerial expeditions brought moments of excitement for the team. They had multiple sightings of wild dogs and encountered numerous rhinos and their tracks.
During one remarkable flight, the pilot had the privilege of witnessing the rarely seen striped hyena, as well as five rhinos and wild dogs – all in a single journey.
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