Scanty information on the status of the elephant population in the south rift prompted the inception of the trans-border elephant program (TEP) in 2004. The primary goal was to re-establish a meta-population between Amboseli and Maasai Mara regions by linking up isolated populations living in both protected areas and in community land.
Facilitating elephant dispersal from these areas will aid the species regain its ecological role in the savannah and therefore conserve biodiversity. However, meaningful dispersal outside and between national parks require connecting space which is privately owned or by communities. Incentives and conflict mitigation strategies formulation has been the key for the provision of the land.
Community’s participation in collecting data on elephant (movement and distribution) will help in building their capacity on conservation issues and regarding natural resource management as well as making sound decisions on land use.
Community game scouts learning to collect data
The TEP current focus is on the elephant program across the entire south rift (Magadi, Loita, Suswa). Data that has been collected since 2006, using the GPS collar on a female elephant “Lorna” has provided valuable information on movement pattern and habitat use of a mixed group. Early this year, another GPS collar was placed on a male elephant “Kiramatian” that has provided similar information for animals that can be solitary or in a group; mixed or all males. Information from both collars show clear movement patterns between the Loita forested hills, bushed and plain lowland in the Olkiramatian/Shompole group ranches in Magadi.
The Shompole swamp in the far south and the riverine are important habitat as the animals spend considerable time here, in search of quality forage. It is also notable that the elephants rarely venture into the irrigated agricultural area which has a dense human population.
Every four years the African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) compiles information on the status, distribution, numbers and sightings (carcasses and other signs) of elephants across the African continent. Through community participation, TEP has collected this information in our area of operation for the AfESG report which will also be part of the 2010 African Elephant Database (AED).AED Read more...
Map showing movement patterns of collared elephants (Female-Red and Male-yellow)