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Resilient Lewa Matriarch Gets a New Collar

February 04, 2016

Tia Maria has led a herd of close to 20 elephants for over a decade.

Tia Maria is one of Lewa's outstanding elephant matriarchs. Roughly 40-years-old, the elephant has led her herd for longer than a decade, helping them find food and water, and during cases of insecurity, steered them to safety. When northern Kenya was plagued with drought a few years ago, Tia Maria's herd managed to survive, and this is easily attributed to her wealth of knowledge in where to find forage during the dry season.

Along with her herd, Tia Maria has also been observed to frequently utilise the elephant underpass, the innovative trans-highway solution that connects the traditional elephant migration route cutting across the Mount Kenya, Ngare Ndare Forest, Lewa and Samburu landscapes. 

Tia Maria was recently fitted with a new GPS-GSM tracking collar that will enable us to track her and her herd's movements. 

Owing to her prominent position, she had been fitted with a GPS-GSM enabled tracking collar in collaboration with our conservation partners, Save The Elephants and Kenya Wildlife Service. The collar worked well for several years, but it recently stopped functioning. 

Geoffrey Chege, our Chief Conservation Officer, explains:

"The information gained from tracking her movements in the past has been invaluable - it has increased our understanding on elephant behaviour, and we have been able to identify her and her herd's migration patterns and preferred habitats. Most of all, we know where she is at all times, enabling us to protect her and her family. That is why it was necessary for us and Save The Elephants to fix Tia Maria's new collar."

We salute this brave elephant matriarch who continues to lead her herd with the strength and resilience that characterises her species.