The Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Ol Ari Nyiro, is a favoured breeding ground for elephants who migrate from other parts of the country to give birth here. There is also a stable resident population of elephants whose habits and individuals we are familiar with. These elephants are in critical danger and we need help to protect them.
Since 2008 there has been a tragic spike in the numbers of elephants poached, reflecting the overall trend across the continent. At the Laikipia Nature Conservancy we are even more vulnerable due to 2 main reasons:
- The precipitous and heavily vegetated topography of the Conservancy makes terrain very difficult to cover by ground patrols alone
- We neighbor the Pokot tribe who pride themselves on being great hunters and warriors. In recent years they have become more heavily armed and there is a gang of poachers operating in the area who have formed links to known Somali traders and a cartel of criminals. They are ruthless.
Nonetheless, our fearless patrols do all they can to prevent the onslaught, usually arriving at elephant carcasses before poachers have had time to remove the tusks. We have an extensive informer network who also contribute to our being able to be on highest alert.
In order to provide an effective deterrent and thus to reduce the scale of poaching, we must re-design our security operations to include a Rapid Response Force with a Sniffer Dog Team and dedicated vehicle. We need to upgrade to a digital radio system and buy infrared equipment. Eventually we will also need a light aircraft for patrolling and surveillance and also to be ‘eyes in the sky’ to avoid our patrols being ambushed by poachers whilst chasing up on gunshots.
We also need to record data on the identity and behavior and movements of our elephants in order to be better equipped to protect them. We are currently in conversations with certain partners who specialize in this but will need to raise the funds to support researchers and collars.
30 of the 44 elephants found poached in 2012 were actually shot at whilst crossing from our nearest neighbouring conservancy through an area of community land. They came to Ol Ari Nyiro to die. One of the keys to securing the future of elephants in this area will be to initiate a Pokot community scout, elephant-minders program and securing this corridor.
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- An African elephant is poached every 15 minutes
- In 2014 at least 30, 000 African elephants were killed
- Approximately 400, 000 African elephants still survive in the wild , at the current rates African elephants could vanish in the next fifteen-twenty years
- Throughout Africa less than 20% of elephants’ range is protected in parks and reserves
- Over 200 container-loads of ivory leave Africa every year, accounting for up to 60 tons of ivory. 2011 saw the highest volume of illegal ivory seized since global records began in 1989
Throughout Africa less than 20% of the elephants’ range is protected in parks and reserves.
The elephants’ range shrank from three million square miles in 1979 to just over one million square miles in 2007 (WWF).
- Ol ari Nyiro protects 400 sq km of that range.
1 elephant is killed every 15 minutes in Africa-or 96 per day.
Over 200 containers-loads of ivory leave Africa every year, accounting for up to 60 tons of ivory (stats from Born Free).
 Wasser, 2013, Tracking Poached Ivory 2013 Calculations. Center for Conservation Biology, University of Washington
 Born Free Foundation
 Underwood FM, Burn RW, Milliken T (2013) Dissecting the Illegal Ivory Trade: An Analysis of Ivory Seizures Data. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76539. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076539
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