Sh8m worth of satellite collars fitted on elephants (Kenya)

By Peterson Githaiga, Standard Digital News
February 23 2013

KENYA: The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has fitted six elephants with GPS satellite collars at the Amboseli at a cost of Sh8.8 million. The collars will monitor the animals’ movement and data used to map out migratory routes, critical corridors and seasonal variations for habitat use.

Besides assisting scientists and conservation experts establish the extent and how elephants use the Amboseli landscape, the collars will also enable KWS design management intervention measures for conflict mitigation and enhance security.
  
“The collared elephants will be monitored for about 20 months – as long as the collars are retained,” said KWS Deputy spokesman Paul Muya.

A team of scientists, researchers and veterinarians from KWS International Fund for Animal Welfare and School of Field Studies NGO participated in the three-day exercise.

“Attaching collars to elephants is a dangerous job. We dart them with tranquilisers from a helicopter, and we usually dart the matriarch, the old female herd leader,” said Patrick Mulandi, head of capture team.

“Elephants stay in breeding herds of about 18, so collaring one member lets the team monitor the entire herd,” added Mr Mulandi.

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