TechInAfrica – Maasai Mara region is located in the southwestern of Kenya. It is best known for its iconic African landscape where you can see lions, wildebeests, cheetahs, zebras, elephants, and other wild animals you can’t often see anywhere else. In this rural area of Kenya, they use drones to monitor and protect wild elephants. This initiative is conducted by the Mara Elephant Project, aims at using available tools to protect wild elephants in the region.
Speaking of wild elephants, their ivory can worth up to $3,000 per kilogram on the open market. One tusk of an adult elephant can weigh over 40 kilograms. The income from killing the animal is lucrative for not only individuals but also local militias and terrorist groups who use the money to fund their illegal activities.
More than 38,000 elephants are killed each year by the poachers. On the other hand, human-elephant conflict, habitat loss, and climate change have also complicated the situation, reducing the population of wild elephants in Africa. It is estimated only 450,000 – 700,000 African elephants left on the planet, indicating the animal would extinct soon.
The Mara Elephant Project is one of the organizations based in Nairobi that protects African wild elephants, specifically in the Maasai Mara region by utilizing drones. Aerial drones are found to be the most effective tool to use in the area.
The drones have the ability to have a quick and reliable birds-eye view to track elephants, locate poachers, and avoid potential conflict before it happens. Since the initiative started, the organization has arrested more than 300 poachers, saved more than 1,000 kilograms of ivory, and reduced the percentage of illegally killed elephants (from 83% to 44%). The drones have helped greatly this matter and will be used continuously in the effort to protect Mara’s elephants.