About This Cause
Last year, Mara Elephant Project (MEP) celebrated a decade of protecting elephants and their habitats across the Greater Mara Ecosystem (GME). The GME, an extension of the vast Serengeti ecosystem, is Kenya’s most important wildlife area and tourism asset. The Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem is one of the last major wildlife refuges on Earth. Most famous for its annual migration of nearly two million wildebeest and zebra, the ecosystem is also home to an estimated 40% of Africa’s large mammals. Historically, people and wildlife peacefully co-existed when space for both did not overlap; however, as the human footprint has expanded, so has livestock and farming, pushing wild animals into smaller spaces. Elephants are a keystone species to this ecosystem and when poaching emerged as the number one threat in 2012 (96 elephants that year alone were killed for their ivory) MEP took action to successfully combat this global threat. Today, the drastic expansion of the human footprint in the region is causing devastating loss of habitat, which means MEP must expand its mission and goals to save the Mara’s wildlife and wild spaces.
MEP’s vision is to see a stable and healthy elephant population co-existing peacefully with people across the GME. For over a decade at MEP, we’ve worked together with the Government of Kenya, KWS, Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI), community conservancies and other conservation organizations to build a better future for elephants and their habitats. MEP is a remarkable force of dedicated men and women working together 24/7 to protect elephants, the GME, Kenyan wildlife and wild spaces for generations to come.
While MEP was originally focused on combating elephant poaching, we’ve adapted to focus on finding solutions to the emerging long-term threats to elephants, co-existence and habitat loss. Our approach of monitor, evaluate and protect has worked when used in collaboration with partners to protect wildlife, communities and habitat in the Maasai Mara.
Monitor: MEP uses our own instance of EarthRanger, which is a cutting-edge conservation technology to monitor elephants, rangers and assets in real time.
Evaluate: MEP evaluates data to produce outputs like maps, charts and situation reports all to illustrate changes in the ecosystem and assess our impact. These outputs are used to influence policy, decision making and guide ranger deployment.
Protect: MEP employs Maasai rangers in patrol units working tirelessly in unprotected areas of the Mara. Our rangers lead the anti-poaching operations and stop conflict to increase security for wildlife, communities and habitat in the Mara.
Our decade of experience using the MEP Method of boots on the ground rangers and applied research all while taking a collaborative approach has disrupted poaching in the region and combatted conflict and habitat loss.
A Decade of Impact:
• Zero poached elephants in the GME in 2020 and 2021
• 463 total ivory or bushmeat poachers arrested
• 2,192 kg of elephant ivory seized
• Eight total rapid response ranger teams
• Over 70 Kenyan men and women employed at MEP
• Movement data from 72 collared elephants
• Three field researchers continually mapping 5,337 km of fences
• Over 1,000 snares removed
• Over 700 kilns destroyed
• Over 49,000 illegal posts, timber and trees confiscated
• 857 conflicts mitigated
• The only helicopter dedicated to wildlife operating in the GME
• Over 100 staff children’s education paid for by MEP