Bringing Together Conservation & Tourism with the Mara Elephant Project

Operating in Kenya’s renowned Masai Mara, the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) is dedicated to protecting elephants in the region as a keystone species for conservation. In operations since 2012, MEP operates primarily across 4,000 km2 surrounding the national reserve and nearby conservancies, which continues to be vulnerable to ongoing illegal elephant killing. It’s not all a matter of poaching, though. As human populations grow and continue to encroach on wilderness areas, elephants are subject to habitat loss and other indirect conservation crises.

The project utilizes rapid response anti-poaching teams and patrol unites, human-wildlife conflict mitigation through ongoing elephant collaring, monitoring and research, and community education and engagement. MEP rangers are from surrounding communities, making them more effective in changing community perceptions of the problem. The Project also recognizes the integral role tourism can play in ongoing conservation efforts; so how can you get involved?

Together with the Mara Elephant Project, we can offer guests a special conservation experience in the Mara. Visit MEP HQ and learn about their vital work protecting elephants and conserving the greater Mara ecosystem. Meet MEP rangers, see an elephant collar up-close, learn about their collar tracking system and unmanned aerial vehicle operation and get a tour of HQ to see the helicopter their rapid-response unit uses.

Depending on circumstances, you may get to visit a collared elephant and learn in person all about elephant protection and the complicated issues with poaching and human-elephant conflict in the Mara. This is a unique glimpse into the day-to-day lives of rangers and staff working on the front lines to save these essential mammals from extinction. Nothing demonstrates the vital role each plant and animal of the Mara plays in the health of its ecosystem than seeing firsthand how interconnected we all are.

All photos courtesy of the Mara Elephant Project.

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Marcia Gordon