Among the huge variety of wildlife living in Kenya's Tsavo East National Park, are "Super Tuskers" -- African elephants with tusks that each weigh over 100 pounds (45 kilograms).
Tsavo Trust is an organization dedicated to protecting the wildlife in the area. Its Big Tusker Project helps provide extra protection for these giants and part of their efforts involves regular aerial patrols.
Among the bush pilots working with Tsavo Trust is conservationist Joseph Kyalo. He flies three times a week to keep a birds-eye view of things.
Kyalo's aerial patrols are an integral part of the conservation efforts at the park. With anywhere from 20,000 to 45,000 square kilometers to monitor, he can survey from above what teams on the ground might not be able to see.
"I also look out for activities such as illegal livestock incursions, logging, poaching, and report the same to our security teams," says Kyalo.
Kyalo says that the Tsavo preservation area is hugely important. "The ecosystem holds 18% of the country's black rhinos. Tsavo Conservation Area also harbors the critically endangered Hirola (antelope) and the endangered Grevy's Zebra."
"By protecting the elephants, we're protecting other wildlife species and their habitats as well. The goal is to have all biodiversity protected -- not only elephants but all wildlife species within the Tsavo Conservation Area. Elephants and rhinos are the flagship species, but all other wildlife benefit from their protection," says Kyalo.
Tsavo Trust along with Kenya Wildlife Services have their hands full with protecting against poaching for ivory and bushmeat, but Kyalo says there are other areas of concern.
One issue is the uneven distribution of watering points, says Kyalo. "Boreholes have been mostly preferred but are all in the same locality. Wildlife is mostly concentrated in these areas during dry seasons causing vegetation degradation," Kyalo says.