Vicky's 1st Quarter 2008

Mon, 2008-03-31 08:41 by hcroze · Forum/category:

Vicky's 1st Quarter
Vicky's 1st Quarter

Vicky of the VA family was given a satellite tracking collar in late December last year. Since then, every two hours, we have received a fix of her position, and, of course, that of her very large 52-strong VA family. She has been remarkably sedentary during the period with a couple of notable exceptions.

A week or so after getting her collar, she left the park for a few kilometres to the south, presumably to get a bit of food variety in the bushed and wooded grasslands there. Then, in mid-February, there was a little rain to the northeast, and the VAs moved some 15 km out of the park. Then, over the very wet Easter weekend, when we wanted to show some donors the collar they contributed to, Vicky and her family raced northeast some 25 km to join a concentration of other eles on the rain-soaked plains. Perversely, the day after the disappointed donors departed, Vicky was back in the park, less than 2 km from Ol Tukai.

For comparison, we've put the range recorded for the VA's in 1977 (yes, 30 years ago!) when we had put a VHF radio collar on the then matriarch, Virginia. It's the purple polygon stretching to the northwest. It was only possible to collect some two-dozen fixes back then flying around with a receiver and antenna attached to the liftstrut of my airplane. Compared that to the over 200 per month we are getting today of Vicky via satellite and the Internet.

Note that the VAs, like all Amboseli elephants and other wildlife, have to run the growing gauntlet of settlements just outside the park (red triangles). Our greatest challenge today is negotiating space for their continuing safe passage. Sometimes, sadly, it's not so safe!

Great work

Mon, 2008-03-31 14:21 by Anna Martinsson

Excellent data that I believe are needed for the future safeguard of their migration corridors and understanding of their movements in aid of the growing numbers of "obstacles" they're facing today and will so even more do in the future. With hard fact there must be so much easier to backup the arguments and negotiate with all parties involved. I know costing must be an major issue here together with the welfare of the individual elephant but this could maybe be used on a larger scale not just in Amboseli but further a field in Kenya and the rest of Africa. As for Vicky and the VA's turning up again the day after the visitors left, it is almost like one would think she knew !
Anna Martinsson
London, UK

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