In 2016 the area of Tsavo in southern Kenya experienced a severe drought which dried up watering holes and food sources in the parks and wildlife sanctuaries, leaving the animals in a desperate situation. At the time, Mwalua Wildlife Trust’s founder Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua was patrolling in Taita Hills Sanctuary, an area that borders Lumo Sanctuary and Tsavo West National Park and, as a corridor for Tsavo elephants, hosts approximately 40% of the elephants in this particular ecosystem. In addition to elephants, there are many other species of other animals including buffalo, zebras, impala, etc, which are dependent on the sanctuary’s resources for their survival.
During his patrols, Patrick was deeply moved by the animals sniffing at and waiting by the empty water holes hoping to quench their thirst. Having experienced the drought in 2009 where he saw many animals die of dehydration, Patrick knew he had to do something to help. One of the lodges in the sanctuary was only able to provide 2,200 litres of water daily due to the shortage, which was nowhere near enough water to sustain the number of animals that could concentrate at the watering hole. With the permission of the management, he went to the town of Voi, 70 kilometres from the park, hired a water truck with 10,000 litres of water, and brought it to the watering hole.
From the moment Patrick started filling the watering hole, animals eagerly came to drink, and within minutes, the watering hole was full of all different types of animals. Patrick continued to bring up to four trucks of water each day to the animals, and each time, they were waiting for him to arrive. The animals recognized his truck, and Patrick was humbled by the experience of being meters away from wildlife that never tried to harm him as he worked to save their lives. He is so grateful for the experience and knowledge he gained about wildlife behaviour.
To begin with, Patrick used his own money to rent the water truck, but eventually, with the help of his friends on Facebook, he was able to raise money which allowed him to continue his work and buy his own water truck that he uses in Taita Hills Sanctuary and Tsavo West National Park.
In addition to bringing emergency assistance to the animals through water delivery, Patrick has also started developing sustainable water solutions within the park. As of early 2019, he has built 2 water pans, excavated 20 mud water holes, and installed solar water panels capable of pumping 60,000 litres of water per day. Due to climate change, this region will be particularly susceptible to droughts, and Patrick is striving for solutions that will prepare the parks and surrounding communities for times of need.
Donations are essential to the work of Mwalua Wildlife Trust. Funds are used to deliver water to wildlife, build and maintain water pans, water catchments, water pumps and tree nurseries, and support solutions in communities that will reduce human wildlife conflict. Please consider donating so we can continue our conservation efforts. Follow us on Facebook or sign up for our Newsletter to stay informed about our work. DONATE NOW