When I went to Kenya last year, I booked my travel with AK Taylor International because they are specialists in private African itineraries. (I'm just not a prepackaged tour kind of person.) I knew the 2 main conservationist organizations I wanted to meet, and knew that my husband really wanted some time on the Swahili coast, but I didn't have the foggiest idea of how to book my trip. This was an adventurous pilgrimage, not a holiday that I could book from the back of the Sunday newspaper. When I asked Oria Douglas-Hamilton of Elephant Watch Safaris if there was a good state-side agent that could help me plan it out, she recommended A.K. Taylor. I was in excellent hands with their ever-capable agent Mary Zrubek from the Billings, Montana office.
I recently received a letter and some photos from Mary that I'd like to share with you. The photos were forwarded from Anne Kent Taylor, who is very active in elephant conservation in Kenya.
Thank you so much for sharing your new website Sacred Elephants. These huge creatures amaze me at how gentle and quiet they can be.
I passed your email onto Anne, my boss Anne Kent Taylor, and she thanks you for sharing this and for your love for elephants.
I’m attaching some photos that I thought you might be interested in seeing. Please be warned, most are painful to see. The elephant injuries that you will see has been caused by the trunks or legs getting caught in the poachers snares.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Anne but years ago she started an anti-poaching project in the Masai Mara. She has a team of Masai and they go out on “sweeps”, going through certain parts of the Mara looking for snares, which they confiscate, and injured animals. If they find injured animals they start the ball rolling to get a vet out from Nairobi and help any way they can.
Just last week her team came across poachers and arrested them.
Anne has made a lot of enemies over there by getting involved in this, but she feels so strongly about protecting the animals and trying to keep them safe, and helping the injured, that she just keeps moving forward.
Anne is actually in one of the photos with her team, she is to the right hand side, wearing the brown shirt.
She started another project with the snares that are brought in, the wires are made into little animals and sold and the money goes back into Anne’s project or to her community project of building schools, digging for wells, etc for the Masai people.
This seems like a never ending thing and unless something is done who knows what the future will bring for your ele’s and the other animals.
However, with people like you and Anne the world is a better place and the animals do stand a chance of surviving.
Thank you again for sharing.
Because these pictures are graphic, I'm going to give you the links instead of displaying them automatically. They are very educational though, in that you can see what happens when an elephant gets caught in a poacher's snare, and you can see how the anti-poaching team doctored up the wound so the elephant was ok again.
1. An elephant who lost the tip of its trunk in a snare.
Keep in mind that an elephant needs the trunk tip muscles to pick up it's food.
2. The desnaring team tranquilizes an injured elephant.
Elephants are dangerous, even this toddler-age baby. They need to sedate it before trying to help.
3. Having turned the elephant over, the snared leg is now visible.
Snares are brutal. This is what the A.K. Taylor Fund is trying to prevent.
4. The elephant veterinarian performs surgery in the bush.
Our heroes to the rescue! Because this is in the wild, they've really only got this one chance to get it right.
5. After the surgery, the elephant heads back to the herd with his bandage.
Hooray baby ellie! Hooray A.K. Taylor Fund team!
Here's a photo of the team. Anne is over on the right side.
Copyright photo courtesy of the A.K. Taylor Fund.
This link will tell you more about how you can support the important desnaring work of the A.K. Taylor Fund.
Also, if you're feeling personally called to visit the elephants in Kenya, be sure to contact Mary at A.K. Taylor International. She'll help you plan the trip of a lifetime!