Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Mara Elephant Project believes that by protecting elephants they are also protecting the greater Mara ecosystem. In ecological and conservation terms elephants are considered a “landscape species” meaning they require large, diverse areas to live; have signiﬁcant impact on the structure and function of
natural ecosystems; are culturally or economically important; and are particularly vulnerable to the land-use and other practices of people. Elephants have a strong inﬂuence on the well being of other species that share their ecosystem to the point that their extinction is likely to have a correspondingly strong eﬀect on the structure and function of ecosystems. We cannot let this happen.
In the 21 Century, more than any other time in history, elephant populations have been in a sharp and perilous decline. A 2016 elephant census revealed that approximately 350,000 African elephants are left in the wild. Between 2007 and 2014, nearly 35,000 elephants were
killed, the equivalent of one elephant every 15 minutes. Human development has continued to expand into traditional elephant areas, encroaching on their space and creating habitat-loss and human elephant conﬂict (HEC). Elephants are also still in demand for their ivory.
The Mara Elephant Project (MEP) was established in 2011 in response to the escalating elephant poaching crisis in the Maasai Mara, and throughout Kenya.
The greater Maasai Mara region, sharing its border with the Serengeti ecosystem, is Kenya's most important wildlife corridor and home to over 3,000 elephants.
MEP has been at the forefront of innovative, successful approaches in the ﬁght to protect elephants: training and deploying a team of over 30 rangers from the Mara to conduct regular, safeguarding patrols; working with local communities who live alongside elephants, providing a rapid response to resolve human-elephant conﬂict; and monitoring and tracking 23 elephants using GPS collars.
In 2012, the ﬁrst year of operations, 96 elephants were killed for their ivory in the Mara ecosystem. Within ﬁve years, the number had been reduced to eight.
The decline in elephant poaching is largely attributed to MEP's intelligence network
and their collaboration with other conservation agencies and anti-poaching teams. But as poaching has declined, so human-elephant conﬂict (HEC) has increased. HEC is not only a signiﬁcant threat to elephants but also a major obstacle to the livelihoods of people living alongside them. In 2010, two elephants were killed due to HEC. By 2016, this
number had risen to 12. Farmers have lost whole ﬁelds of crops in a single nightfences and maize barns destroyed. It has presented MEP with a challenge in its eﬀorts to protect elephants whilst safeguarding the interests of local communities.
In response to these threats MEP has developed an eﬀective number of interdependent programs including:
MEP has trained and deployed a team of over 30 rangers from the Mara to conduct regular patrols and provide rapid response to safe-guard elephants from poaching and intervene in human-wildlife conﬂict situations.
HUMAN-ELEPHANT CONFLICT MITIGATION
MEP works with local communities who live alongside elephants, providing a rapid response to resolve human-elephant conﬂict and support to the community through development projects.
ELEPHANT COLLARING AND RESEARCH
MEP currently monitors 23 collared elephants with GPS collars, which enables MEP to
track elephants and their movements 24/7. The near real-time collar data is a tool to ensure the security of more than 600 elephants and deploy rangers to monitor the collared elephants and their associated herds daily.
MEP is a critical partner of the Kenya Wildlife Service in protecting elephants in the Mara Serengeti ecosystem and has played a key role in reducing the level of poaching and rapidly responding to human-elephant conﬂict.
We need your help to protect elephants and secure a viable and sustainable population in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem that will serve as a keystone species, which ensures the long term socio-economic future of the region.
HELP MEP REACH THEIR GOALS
Reduce the Percentage of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE) to under 20% within 2 years and 10% within 5 years.
Replicate MEP's method in the remaining unprotected areas of the greater Mara ecosystem and into the Serengeti
Secure vital migration corridors and dispersal areas and see them leased as conservancies
Implement an eﬀective national and county elephant strategy that secures space for elephants
Increase MEP's community engagement program fostering support for wildlife and conservation
In the face of numerous social, economic and environmental issues, it is critical that MEP focuses on speciﬁc issues and activities where it has a recognized strength. Through partnerships, MEP will seek to leverage the resources, knowledge, networks and strengths of other stakeholders to enhance our impact.
GET IN TOUCH
PO BOX 16656 (00620) NAIROBI, KENYA
Kenya: +254 710 780215
USA: +1 317 832 8313
The Mara Elephant Project is a registered non-government organisation in Kenya.
The ESCAPE Foundation does business as MEP in the USA and is a 501(c)(3) registered charity,