Since 2006, Save the Elephants had been able to deploy a GSM collar on a well-known bull called Mountain Bull.
Before he was poached in 2014, he had been monitored for 8 years and we had watched him “streak” over 40 times, crossing between Borana Ranch and the Imenti Forest on Mount Kenya at great speed.
Mountain Bull’s data has been critical to understanding how elephants migrate to Mt. Kenya and how important the ranches and reserves to the north are to these elephant migration routes. The connectivity between the two has been under threat due to increased road development and expanding farms.
Guided by his and other collaring data, a 28-kilometer Corridor in Mt. Kenya was charted and built. A first for Kenya was the inclusion of an underpass, our first ecological corridor, beneath the major A2 Nanyuki Highway. This underpass provides vital connectivity between Mt. Kenya, a World Heritage Site, and Borana, Kisima, Ngare Dare and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to the north.
As if to usher in 2011, Tony the bull graced the corridor a day after the underpass was opened. Since then, dozens of elephants have successfully crossed safely under the major road without putting themselves or motorists in danger, and without damaging crops or scaring residents in a nearby village. As Kenya surges forward into an age of development, announced by Kenya’s exciting Vision 2030 plan, we know roads, bridges, pipelines, resort cities and railways are going to emerge in areas that were previously thought of as “wild lands”.
As we welcome new development and the sweeping economic benefits it will bring to the long marginalised people of the region, we are also careful to preserve the economic and cultural benefits these lands already possess with their abundance of wildlife and biodiversity which could be lost if not carefully planned for. The mapping of corridors through our collared elephants is a tangible and extremely useful tool in times like these, ensuring the future for elephants and the people who live with them.