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Mr. Nick, or M86 (Male 86), was so-named for the enormous number of nicks and tears in his ears. He was one of the subjects of study by conservationist Cynthia Moss and Amboseli Trust for Elephants (Kenya). He was collared in December 1997 wit the help of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and chosen, along a fellow male elephant Ganesh, due to his tendency to disappear from the core study area for prolonger periods.
Mr. Nick was about 38 years old at the time and was believed to cross the border into Tanzania to the west. On average, each elephant was located 20 times a day; datas was downloaded every two weeks. Mr. Nick was tracked for four and a half months before the collar dropped off. Within that period he averaged 10,3km per day and often visited Tanzania for reconnaissance.
The tracking studies confirmed the extent to which Amboseli elephants depend on unprotected areas well beyond the park boundaries and reinforced the need for far-reaching management plans that must include the whole ecosystem. The data from Mr. Nick in particular supported the decision of the Tanzanian Government to close elephant hunting in the Longido Game Controlled Area as an activity incompatible with the objectives of the neighbouring Kenyan protected areas and wildlife concessions.
Text & photo credit: Cynthia Moss