During my travels to Kenya earlier this year and while I was staying at Angama Mara, Tyler Davis, (Angama’s Regional Director) invited me to join together with their in-house photographer Adam Bannister on a visit to the Mara Elephant Project Headquarters by helicopter. I got way more than I bargained for. Check out some of the highlights of this terrific experience.
Elephants being scared of a Helicopter is a very good thing - Marc Goss
We left Angama Mara in the dark to go to the airstrip where we would meet Marc Goss, the helicopter pilot and managing director of the Mara Elephant Project. He landed and stepped out of his branded Robinson Helicopter. Cool, calm and collected we decided to go to find some elephants first to get some footage to help them with their marketing. Few minutes later we were off.
The Sun was just about rising as we swooped over the front of the escarpment. The action had begun. After a morning joyride we headed off into the Mara. Marc pulled out his Phone with the tracking system loaded on it and flew straight towards a small group of elephants heading off towards a farm. We dropped Adam & Dean (My Camera man) off on the ground, near a tree to get some shots from outside as we went to herd the elephants off in the right direction.
At first glance it may seem cruel that we are distressing and chasing elephants around. But Marc would later explain that elephants being scared of the helicopter is a very good thing. If they carry on in that direction they will walk into a human conflict, often resulting in the elephants being speared and shot at with arrows.
Our next part of the adventure was a real highlight for me. We flew North towards the Mara Elephant Project Headquarters along the Mara River. We flew low down weaving in and out of the meandering river like we were in a Vietnam War Movie with some 70’s Rock and Roll as the backtrack. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
The Headquarters were impressive. Marc showed us around the facilities, demonstrated the Tracking System (Designed my Paul Allen of Microsoft) and introduced us to his team. Marc is a crazy guy with a massive heart spearheading this incredible imitative. I’m humbled to be a part of it.
Conservation Organisations like the Mara Elephant Project play a vital part in keeping keystone species like the elephant from being nothing more than a images in history books. To show our gratitude and support we are collaborating with the Mara Elephant Project by pledging 20% of all our Images for the month of October 2018.