Moving Elephants

Elephant Relocation

I worked with the Kenyan Wildlife Service and World Wildlife Fund to document the relocation of elephants that were in conflict with Masaai villages outside of Masaai Mara National Park.

Elephants that live outside parks frequently come into conflict with villagers by eating their grain stores and endangering their lives. The Kenyan Wildlife Service tries to relocate as many of these problem individuals as possible. 


Elephant on the Maasai Mara, Kenya © Nelson Guda

When people and wildlife share the same space…

it is usually the wildlife that suffers. We like to think of Africa as having vast swaths of undisturbed wilderness. While it is true that many African countries like Kenya have a great deal of protected land, it is all managed and the land is surrounded by growing human populations just as everywhere else in the world.


… is not easy. The children in this photo are in a hole in their house made by an elephant looking for the family’s grain storage. The elephant used its tusks to break through the wall in the middle of the night. It crashed through directly over the childrens’ bed while they were sleeping.


In addition to problems with villagers, elephants outside of National Parks in Kenya often run afoul of poachers who remove their tusks to sell on the black market. We found this skull while following elephant tracks outside the western border of Maasai Mara National Park. 

This small storage building held an entire year of grain for a Masaai family before it was raided by an elephant at night.  

Masaai man who was attacked by an elephant trying to steal his family’s grain.

Masaai men approach a wildlife service helicopter used to capture elephants

Vets in the Kenya Wildlife Service monitor sedated elephants as they are being prepared for transport

An elephant is lifted onto a flatbed trailer for a short transport to a larger vehicle.

Masaai villagers gather around a sedated elephant before it is moved into a transport trailer

Children look out through a hole in their bedroom made by a marauding elephant at night.

Conservation Prints

After donating images to the Elephant Relocation project I created a set of Wildlife Prints to raise further funds for conservation efforts in Kenya.

The prints include images from this work in the Masaai Mara as well as from Samburuland in northern Kenya where I worked with the Grevy’s Zebra Trust.