ATE Supports Amboseli Wet Season Aerial Wildlife Count

Sun, 2010-05-16 09:15 by bntawuasa
Airstrip map

ATE together with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) and the Maasai Community around Amboseli National Park have just concluded an aerial wildlife count in the Amboseli-West Kilimanjaro and Magadi Natron area. The exercise was the first of such magnitude involving Kenyan and Tanzanian researchers.

Within six days an area of 24 000 kmsq was covered using seven aircrafts. Following last year’s drought we were concerned about how much wildlife had been lost. Such fears led KWS start moving zebras from other areas into Amboseli National Park. This exercise was stopped after the count results showed that we still had plenty of zebras in the region.

We counted 1353 elephants (red dots on the map) in the Amboseli region. This confirms our long term data which shows that we lost atleast 200 elephants due to drought and/ or poaching in 2009. From the count data, animals hardest hit by the drought were zebras and wildebeest that reduced by more than 70%. The Maasai lost over 60% of their livestock as result of the drought.

The results of this count will be used to enhance close cross-border elephant conservation efforts. We applaud the team spirit shown by our partners from both Kenya and Tanzania.

By John Kioko and Robert Ntawasa

Full report can be accessed here