Established in 2011 with the mission of protecting this iconic keystone species and their habitats across the Greater Mara Ecosystem.
As our human population increases, space for wildlife diminishes. When this happens tensions start to rise between the two parties. In 2016 Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) began to emerge as the number one threat to both wildlife and communities in the Mara. Elephants are especially at risk from HWC and in turn pose a great threat to humans as they are able to break through a fence and wipe out an entire field of crops overnight, leaving a family with nothing to eat or sell for months. When this happens retaliatory attacks on elephants are common, often resulting in the death or injury of humans, elephants or both. Whilst it’s critical for key habitats to remain intact to support Kenya’s wildlife, it’s also important that communities living alongside them feel protected and connected to the Mara. MEPs Rapid-Response Teams are tasked with immediately reacting to and mitigating these intense conflict situations in order to protect their neighbour’s farms from crop raiding elephants.
Rates of ivory poaching in the Masai Mara have diminished (thanks largely to MEPs vast undercover intelligence network that has been at the centre of key poacher arrests and ivory seizures for over a decade). However, unfortunately bushmeat poaching using snares is now on the rise. MEP has permanent ranger teams operating in key forest areas to combat this new problem. These teams are not only addressing bushmeat poaching by arresting poachers, confiscating bushmeat, and removing snares, but they are also focused on the increasing habitat destruction activities in these precious forest habitats. The year 2020 saw the highest level of habitat destruction in the history of MEP. Despite mounting issues arising from the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, their rangers are working hard to safeguard elephant habitat day and night.
Credit- Mara Elephant Project
MEP deploys elephant collars to not only monitor elephants movements in real-time and react to protect them, but also help to determine the extent of their range. The collected data is used to inform future spatial plans that protect the ecosystem’s biodiversity and to explain why elephants move the way they do, leading to long-term solutions for conflict. Their Long-term Monitoring Team is a key element to ensuring that MEP better understands the overall population of elephants living in the GME and how these animals use the limited space that they have.
For interested guests, a presentation in camp by one of MEPs core staff can be arranged. A USD1000 donation to the project is required and they will be happy to join guests for dinner if requested. This must be booked in advance.