Tracking the Malian desert elephant near Timbuktu.

Nigel Kuhn

The soldiers mounted up onto their troop carriers and heavy support wagons as we prepared to go out into the Malian desert and carry out our first anti poaching mission just South of Timbuktu. With a sense of urgency we left behind a skeleton guard and drove out of camp onto the potholed road under a scorching sunpacked-and-looking-like-a-professional-soldiers-vehicle. A sun which having already been up for a few hours by 9 am, was chastising us for loitering.

We were in Mali as part of the Mali Desert elephant  project.  This a Wild Foundation project run by Wild Foundation and partnered with Chengeta Wildlife who are providing critical combat tacking tactics for a brand new anti poaching unit.  Lead by Rory Young an expert tracker and combat tracking trainer the team is providing ‘in ops’ training to this new unit.

Turning off the road, we passed beneath one of the towering monoliths which…

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