Three generations of the Roberts family have been integrally and passionately involved in conservation in Kenya,
and in 2011 Richard and Liz followed suit, founding the Mara Elephant Project. The project targets ivory
poaching and human-elephant conflict, which are the two main threats to the Mara's elephant population.
It is estimated that an elephant is poached every 15 minutes, putting them on a clear trajectory to extinction; simultaneously,
the Maasai Mara's exponential population growth pushes humans into elephant rangelands. Grasslands are being
cultivated for crops, and a herd can demolish a farmer's entire harvest overnight: elephants have come to be
viewed as a pest, and are often killed as a result.
The Mara Elephant Project deploys elephant collars that generate real-time data on the location of individuals and therefore
their herds. With four patrol teams and a Rapid Response Unit on foot, vehicle and helicopter, tracking allows
the teams deter elephants from places they aren't welcome, as well as get to injured and poached animals in the
quickest possible time.
The project also works with communities to help them build elephant-deterrent chilli fences, move grazing herds away from
their crops, and educate them on the importance of helping us to save these majestic creatures so that they'll
be around for generations to come.