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November 20, 2018

Jumbos using underpasses in Tsavo

Kenya Wildlife Service and Save The Elephants staff push an elephant as they undertake the collaring of ten elephants ranging near the Standard Gauge Railway to fit them with advanced satellite radio tracking collars in Tsavo National Park, Kenya March 15, 2016. REUTERS
Kenya Wildlife Service and Save The Elephants staff push an elephant as they undertake the collaring of ten elephants ranging near the Standard Gauge Railway to fit them with advanced satellite radio tracking collars in Tsavo National Park, Kenya March 15, 2016. REUTERS

Elephants within the Tsavo ecosystem still cross the main highway instead of using the underpasses, a new study has shown.

Six wildlife crossing underpasses each measuring around 70 metres long and six metres high were constructed in 2014, by the company contracted to build the SGR, to enable animals to cross safely from one side of the park to the other.

 In March, 10 elephants were fitted with collars to track and understand their movement behaviour as a result of the SGR project.

The study – Preliminary Indications of the Effect of Infrastructure Development on Ecosystem Connectivity in the Tsavo National Park – indicates that it takes many years for wildlife to learn new behaviour patterns. The study was conducted between July 2015 and June 2016 by eight organisations.

The organisations include Save the Elephants, the Tsavo East National Park, the Tsavo Trust, the KWS and the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Colorado State University.

The others are the Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis Geography University of British Columbia, the Oxford University Department of Zoology and Nema.

The study indicates six of 10 elephants crossed the SGR within four weeks of collaring.

It shows a male and a female captured on the Voi-Taveta highway had crossed the same highway multiple times at some sections identified for speed bumps by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

The SGR runs through the Tsavo East and West, the home of between 12,000 and 14,000 elephants.

The study comes at a time when the government has proposed the second phase of the SGR cut through the Nairobi National Park.

The new path has a viaduct that cuts through the middle of the park for six kilometres, dividing it into almost two equal portions.

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