IN THE AIR
Keith Hellyer is the anti-poaching pilot for the Wildlife Works Elephant Protection Trust. He conducts daily aerial patrols, to support the ranger force in Tsavo's Kasigau Corridor to try and stop and prevent elephant poaching from happening in this vast wilderness.
The Kasigau Wildlife Corridor is located between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park and covers 2,000 square kilometers. The 14 group ranches that collectively make up this corridor provide an important habitat and dispersal area for wildlife between these two protected areas. There are approximately 11,000 elephants in the Tsavo ecosystem and roughly 2,000 of them that rely on the corridor as part of their movements in search for water between the two national parks.
Aerial surveillance is one of the most effective means of reducing wildlife crime, and is needed now more than ever in an effort to curb elephant poaching.
Our daily aerial patrols are conducted with Keith's Magni 24 Gyrocopter, and we have seen a major impact with the gyrocopter's presence.
It is a vital tool in the effective prevention of illegal activities, whilst increasing security and providing essential data needed to protect such expansive areas of land. Furthermore, aerial support also helps in identifying and deterring other illegal activities from the air, such as illegal charcoal burning, trespassing, illegal grazers and logging, which poses a great threat to the Kasigau Corridor and the future of the environment.
The Gyrocopter is a remarkably economical aircraft to use for daily operations in the field, however it requires quite a lot of upkeep at $6,000 per month.
See a sample of his daily flight log here.
From Poacher's son to Conservationist
Daniel Zuma grew up in the Tsavo area and as a young boy, he lost his father to a buffalo attack while hunting for bush meat. Despite this, he decided to grow up protecting wildlife instead of killing them. With the support of our late VP of African Ops, Rob Dodson and conservationist Alice Owen, Daniel is on his way to make his dream of being the first bush pilot from his community to fly solo over our protection area of Tsavo.
Daniel was devastated by the sudden death of his friend and mentor Rob Dodson in March 2017. Not only did the lose a dear friend, he feared that he may never reach his goal. That's when Alice decided to lead fundraising efforts to help him become a bush pilot. She raised the money for his Gyro training in England which he completed in Oct 2017.
He returned to Kenya with his dream fulfilled. He is now a pilot for Wildlife Works Elephant Protection Trust along side Keith.
Read his inspiring story here.