Collaring & Tracking
Where necessary for monitoring purposes the Ol Pejeta Conservancy collars individuals of certain species including lion, cheetah and elephants. This allows for the development of home range maps and greater understanding of the habits and movements of these species.
With prior arrangement, lion tracking trips with members of the Ol Pejeta research staff can be arranged.
Radio collars assist the Ecological Monitoring Department to obtain data on predator-prey interactions, population status and structure, movement patterns and social organisation. Through the use of collars, prey mortality caused by predators can be analysed to show their impacts on prey species. Too many lions, for example, can be a problem because high prey off-takes can lead to a serious decline of endangered and other species of concern to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, including Jackson’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, black rhinos, Beisa oryx and ostriches. With the help of the collars and patrol reports, monitoring had established that the hartebeest population in the eastern sector of the Conservancy, for example, had fallen by approximately 50% in the last 10 years. Predators alone accounted for 82% of their deaths. Without collars the same data can be collected but collars allow closer monitoring on a more regular basis.
This enables the impacts of predators on prey species (plus the other aspects) to be assessed quickly rather than relying on opportunistic sightings over a longer period of time. The range of the collars depends on the terrain. For instance, from an aircraft it is possible to pick up a signal at 15 kilometres but on the ground the distance is approximately 5 kilometres. The collars fitted on lions and leopards last for two years after which they are replaced.
The information gathered helps the Ol Pejeta Conservancy management to make informed decisions about predator and prey management. It also serves as a benchmark to determine what further studies are needed to understand the ecology of the predator and prey populations.
GSM (Global System for Mobile communication technology) collars are put on crop-raiding elephants in collaboration with Save the Elephants and Space for Giants to monitor their movements across the Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem. These have greatly assisted the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in learning behavioral patterns associated with individual elephants and the implementation of appropriate management interventions.
For more information on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy's Collaring & Tracking activities, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.