Woman Pilot Protects Wild Animals in Kenya

An american acrobatic pilot renowned for her skills at air shows is teaching advanced flying skills to Kenyan pilots to help them spot wildlife poachers. Patty Wagstaff has won three acrobatic flying championships. She also trains pilots and has been lending her time and expertise to wild elephant conservation.

Wildlife poachers have said the top deterrent to poaching wild animals is air patrols. Flying so low and at slower speeds to spot poachers is dangerous for pilots in Kenya who sometimes have only basic flying skills.

Their planes crash too regularly and they have been shot at by poachers. Wagstaff teaches them in week-long clinics, partly funded by the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. From her they learn techniques that reduce mistakes which too often lead to crashes. They love to fly and care about wildlife, so they are happy to take to the sky and spot poachers. Not all of them are thrilled to be taught by a woman who is so knowledgeable, due to cultural issues. She deals with the gender bias by understanding what tribes they come from, and being very patient. She said also, when in the air with a pilot who gives her pushback, she just flies them upside down for a bit.

Wild elephants have been poached in Kenya for their ivory going back a long time. She has been working with the pilots for six years to reduce and stop it. The pilots there are associated with the Kenya Wildlife Service. The poaching is getting worse. So what these pilots are doing is really important. Asian demand for ivory is fueling the poaching. In 1950 there may have been five million elephants in Africa. Now there are far fewer.

Image Credit: Wallygrom

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Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog2 years ago

That's so wonderful, good for her! Not to mention it's very much in line with the following:

The following link is a lovely and very necessary project that is being put into place to prevent poaching against rhinos in Africa, however they have a deadline in order to collect all the necessary funds, so please donate - even a small amount will make a difference!! Plus each donation comes with a gift sent to you depending on the amount!


Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Patty Wagstaff you are amazing. Thanks!!!

Valerie G.
Val G.4 years ago

Agree with Robert O.
So important what she is doing...

Debra Van Way
Debra Van Way4 years ago

Fly them upside down for a bit. Love it! Wonderful woman doing good.

Hege Torset
Hege Torset4 years ago

Great :)

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Great story, thanks. We need more people in the world like Patty.

criss S.
criss s.4 years ago

Thank you for the article.

Kathleen D.
Kathleen D.4 years ago

We need far more humans that would emulate the attributes of this wonderful woman. Our magnificent creatures would have a much better life on this planet if that were the case!