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© Mikey Purchase

In May, Loisaba Conservancy hosted a ‘Fly In’ organised by the Aero Club of East Africa, an event normally held once every two years. Participants enjoyed a weekend of flying fun whilst staying at Elewana Collections luxury Loisaba Tented Camp and Loisaba Star Beds.

Eight aircrafts participated in the event including, two Cessna 206’s, one X-Cub, one Cessna 180 and four Cessna 182’s with pilots ranging from commercial pilots, recreational pilots to aviation enthusiasts.

The activities of the ‘Fly In’ included challenges such as the shortest take off distance; flour bag bomb dropping from a height of 200m into a large target on the airfield and spot landings onto a line on the airstrip. The pilots also enjoyed scenic flights around Loisaba Conservancy with elephant sightings in the hundreds.

© Michelle Purchase

The highlight of the flying fun was a flour bomb landing on the spectator tent during morning tea and biscuits! Once the flying was finished, guests spent the rest of the day lazing by the pool and going on game drives where they were lucky enough to spot lions and a leopard! A brief awards ceremony was held after dinner on Saturday night which was followed by an entertaining quiz.

We’re really looking forward to seeing all the participants and more back here at Loisaba next year!

By: Mikey Purchase

 

 

Nanyuki and Memusi on exercise

Tracker dogs are one of the most effective tools for wildlife security, often deterring poachers from even entering an area. Over the years our two bloodhounds Warrior and Machine have proved invaluable to Loisaba’s security team. They have helped track down dozens of poachers and criminals, find missing people and return livestock to their owners, earning them their well deserved reputation throughout Laikipia.

Memusi (male)

We are so excited to introduce two new recruits to our K9 unit – Memusi and Nanyuki! They were born in the Mara and are a cross breed of Bloodhound and Bluetick Coonhound. Their parents are both excellent trackers imported from the USA, their mother Anna (Bloodhound/Coonhound) is deep nosed and an amazingly accurate tracker whilst their father Morani (Bloodhound) a no nonsense brave tracker has led to the arrest of over 100 poachers during his 8 year deployment in the Mara Triangle. Born in August 2017, Memusi and Nanyuki have received training from both domestic and international trainers which we will continue here at Loisaba.

Nanyuki (female)

The incredible work these tracker dogs do combined with Kenya’s strong wildlife trophy law which can result in imprisonment for life or a 20 million shilling ($20,000) fine is a huge deterrent to poachers.

A big thank you to The Nature Conservancy for enabling Nanyuki and Memusi and their wonderful personalties to join the team!

 

 

On Thursday morning Amos Chege, our Conservation Officer, received an urgent report from the Starbeds Lodge manager, a malnourished looking elephant calf had been spotted. He immediately rushed to the scene, easily located the calf and carefully observed the situation – to avoid making any rash decisions.

Amos observed the elephant calf try to join a nearby elephant herd but watched it being repeatedly rejected by the matriarch. It was clear that this calf did not belong to this herd and had become separated from its mother elsewhere. It was not clear how this had happened but he looked in bad shape and a decision needed to be made quickly. After brief consultation, we called the dedicated staff at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary on the nearby Namunyak Conservancy. The first community run elephant orphanage in Africa specifically established to rescue and reintroduce abandoned elephant calves in the vast northern Kenya landscape.

Reteti chartered a plane from Tropic Air Kenya without delay and they arrived with the professional staff of the North Kenya Veterinary Service. The calf was expertly darted, loaded onto the plane, strapped in and whisked away to safety. While it is terribly sad that this calf became separated from its mother, elephants are an incredibly resilient species and we hear he is doing well at Reteti. We are confident he will make a full recovery and maybe some day he will find his way back to Loisaba.

By early next morning there was yet another report involving an elephant. This time, the ever vigilant conservancy rangers had spotted an elephant cow with what looked to be an arrow wound. By the time Amos got to the scene to confirm the report, light was fading and all efforts to locate it failed.

At the crack of dawn Amos and a team of rangers generously funded by The Nature Conservancy were once again on the trail of the elephant. It took three hours of patient tracking to locate it, amongst all the confusing footprints of other elephants. Eventually, in thick bush they caught up with her. She was indeed badly wounded and required urgent medical attention. The Kenya wildlife service Vet team led by Dr. Dominic Mijele in collaboration with DSWT were informed and arrived from Nanyuki within a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, the elephant cow was not cooperating and had strayed into very difficult terrain. It took over half an hour for Dr. Mijele to get into position to comfortably take a shot with his dart gun. True to his aim the dart found its target and the elephant cow went down. The wound was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Dr. Mijele was confident that she would make a full recovery over the coming week as the antibiotics take effect.

We can only speculate on what events led to her injury at the hands of a bow and arrow as well as the circumstances that led to the calf being abandoned. Regardless we feel incredibly lucky to work in landscape with such dedicated partners, all working tirelessly to look after Kenya’s wildlife: Kenya Wildlife Service; Space for Giants; Reteti Elephant Sanctuary Community United for Elephants; North Kenya Veterinary Service; DSWT; The Nature Conservancy; Tropic Air Kenya; Save the Elephants and Northern Rangelands Trust.

By: Izzy Parsons