There Are Angels at Work

10 July 2018 | The Mara |

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Every day a remarkable team works tirelessly to protect the mighty pachyderms of the Greater Mara and how lucky we are to have them

Through our Angama Foundation we are hands-on supporters of individuals and groups doing fantastic work across the Greater Mara. Whether it be in the fields of education, healthcare or conservation we throw our weight behind many worthy causes. One such project is the Mara Elephant Project (MEP). The MEP, in now its 6th year of operation, continues to produce impressive results and is firmly positioned as one of the most important elephant conservation organizations on the continent.

Helicopter Mara Elephant Project

Initially the MEP was set up to concentrate on reducing the escalating levels of elephant poaching. It is estimated that in Africa one elephant is killed every 15 minutes. Backed by a world class team of highly-trained individuals, specialised drones and the only dedicated helicopter in the Maasai Mara, the MEP has achieved great success in this regard. This has allowed them to shift focus towards another pressing issue: human-elephant conflict.

Human population growth is a global concern. Another threat comes in the rapid land conversion and encroachment into protected areas.

Helicopter elephants in forest

“This is a war of space. Everyone is trying to carve out a living in this area.”
Marc Goss, CEO, Mara Elephant Project

Currently, the Project has 23 collared elephants that are monitored daily via Google Earth. MEP focuses on animals that will gather useful spatial data, particularly individuals in border areas or outside formally protected areas. Using advanced technologies, the MEP is able to detect whenever elephants are moving towards human populated areas and can thus implement corrective measures to reduce conflict. This approach is achieving positive results and community members are now turning to the Project to deal with elephant issues rather than taking matters into their own hands.

Helicopter Marc Goss at Computer

Helicopter Marc Goss desaturated

Earlier this year I had the privilege of going out with Marc Goss, CEO of Mara Elephant Project. We flew along the Oloololo escarpment as he wanted to check up on the wellbeing of two of the Project’s collared elephants. We proceeded on to their HQ where I met the team and saw first-hand what these admirable unsung heroes do. The helicopter flight and the entire experience were extraordinary.

Helicopter rangers walking

Helicopter side on with elephants

Elephants are keystone species in the landscape; by protecting the elephants the MEP is making a huge contribution towards protecting the Greater Mara ecosystem. A noble cause and one we are proud to support.

A herd of elephant … pacing along as if they had an appointment at the end of the world.
Karen Blixen – Out of Africa

Helicopter elephants running

The MEP welcomes guests of Angama to visit its headquarters, giving them the opportunity to experience life at the forefront of elephant conservation. What is fascinating to see is how new technology is being twinned so successfully with traditional research and monitoring techniques. Up to three guests fly with Mark Goss to the HQ checking in on collared elephants along the way. This memorable experience depends on Mark’s availability and regrettably cannot be booked ahead of time – please chat to our Camp Managers on arrival at the lodge.

AUTHOR: Adam Bannister

A South African-trained biologist, safari guide, author, filmmaker and photographer, Adam is, above all else, a gifted storyteller. After spending the past 10 years working in some of the world’s most beautiful wild places – the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, Rajasthan in India, Brazil’s Pantanal, and the rainforests of Manu National Park in Peru – he is delighted to share his stories of one of the loveliest game reserves of them all, the Maasai Mara.

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