We had a few days respite from rain before heavy, all night, storms resumed on the 3rd for a week, washing away sections of the roads between Oloololo and Mara Bridge; the rains then resumed on the 28th. The remainder of the month was dry, very unusual for this time of the year.
The Chief Executive met with M/s Deloitte Consulting on issues of Taxation on the first.
The Clerk was reinstated in Kilgoris on the 18th. However, there was strong opposition in the Council and she returned to Nairobi. Ms Mulisho has since been transferred and we welcome Mr Ndambuki, the new Clerk. A group of 15 councillors held what appears to be an improperly called meeting in the period between the old Clerk leaving and the new Clerk reporting to call for the removal of two Mara Conservancy directors; with a threat to terminate the agreement if this was not done. This matter was discussed at a Board meeting and it was decided that we would only respond to a formal communication from the Clerk.
Earthview reported the first case of fraudulent tickets on the 27th. They were picked up immediately on submission to the desk at Mara Serena and Earthview are working on tracing their origin.
The heavy rains and resulting long grass has led to a depletion of wildlife within the Triangle. Lions, Cheetah and their prey species have all moved into the Lemai Wedge in Tanzania, in areas that were burnt in February. These areas have formed a focus for poachers and we have concentrated our efforts in assisting the Tanzanians.
The “Out of Africa” pride went up the escarpment on the 3rd and killed a zebra. We sent rangers up to push the lions back into the Triangle. One lioness was reported with two small cubs near Kichwa Tembo camp on the same day.
One family of four lions took up residence along the river below Serena, the cubs were emaciated and at least one of them on the verge of death, we decided to feed them on a Topi and then observe them, whilst waiting for Dr Kashmiri to treat them. We assume that these lions came across the river as they are not part of a known Triangle pride. The one emaciated cub seems to have died but the others have improved in condition.
Dr Stephanie Dloniak returned for a few days to monitor predator numbers in the Triangle.
The Chief Executive took four days off during the month.
Mr Nicholas Sarisar reported back on duty on the 30th after five weeks suspension.
Tourist numbers were well down on the previous months, expected in the low season. However, Mara Serena still managed 60% occupancy over the month and project a similar occupancy rate for May. Little Governor’s is closed during April and May for renovations, this is bound to affect overall revenue in these two months.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in April
A total of 24 poachers were arrested in April, all but four of them in Tanzania. One of the poachers was taken to Kilgoris, the rest were handed over to the Tanzanians. We were very grateful to Anne Kent-Taylor for the use of her team and vehicle while one of ours was being repaired. The total number of poachers arrested since June 2001 now stands at 391. Over 50 wire snares were recovered.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested on the night of the 1st by our Ngiro-are team near Nyakita Pembe in Tanzania. They were ambushed late at night when killing Thompson’s gazelle with dogs. They had killed five gazelle by the time they were apprehended. The poachers were handed over to the Tanzanians.
One wa Kuria poacher was arrested in a large joint operation between ourselves and our Tanzanian counterparts in Tanzania at 10.30 pm on the 2nd. We had five vehicles and over 30 personnel involved in the operation and there were a reported 50 poachers, in at least three groups, operating in the area. Unfortunately the ambush was sprung slightly early; we would have certainly caught more people. Four Thompson’s gazelle had been killed.
On the night of the 11th, four wa Kuria poachers, out of a group of five, were arrested by the Ngiro-are team at about 2.30 am. They were on their way into the Serengeti with 30 wire snares and supplies for several days.
On the night of the 14th two wa Kuria poachers were arrested by the Serena team at 3.45 am. They were part of a large gang, estimated at over 50 people, who were hunting Thompson’s gazelle with dogs. It is estimated that the gang had killed 15 gazelle by the time they were apprehended. The two young men arrested were in their teens and they were handed over to the Tanzanians.
On the 18th one poacher was arrested by a day patrol along the Mara River, downstream from Mara Bridge, two others escaped. The poacher said that they were fishing and we were unable to locate their camp.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested at 9.00 on the night of the 21st between Lemai and Kokatende, along the Mara River by the Ngiro-are team.
On the 24th three, out of a group of four wa Kuria poachers were arrested at Masanja in the Lemai Wedge section of the Serengeti by the Serena team, in conjunction with Anne Kent-Taylor’s scouts. The poachers had arrived that day and set 15 wire snares, but had not killed any animals. On the same day the Ngiro-are team came across two poachers on the river well downstream fro Kokatende but they escaped across the river.
One wa Kuria poacher was arrested downstream from Mara Bridge in the Lemai Wedge on the 26th by the Serena team, assisted by Anne Kent-Taylor’s scouts. They had set eight wire snares but had not caught any animals. However, they had been fishing in the river and had caught seven fish, each weighing about one kilo. Two others escaped across the river.
On the 27th, the Serena team, in conjunction with the A K-T group arrested two, out of five, poachers that were hunting with dogs at “Nyumba Nane”, between Mara Serena and Mara Bridge. They had killed one warthog and were discovered during a routine patrol in the area. On the same day the Ngiro-are team arrested four wa Kuria poachers near Nyakita Pembe in Tanzania. This group had caught some fish but had no meat.
On the 28th the Serena/A K-T group returned to Nyumba Nane and arrested another two poachers. This group had two dogs and had killed six warthog.
We overhauled the engine on KAN 706K, this vehicle will now be retained and we will sell KAN 707K. The new Land Cruiser, KAT 473Q, was collected at the beginning of April and sent to Nairobi for some bodywork. This vehicle will be ready for the Mara in early May.
The second Land Rover also had an overheating problem and will require a new cylinder head.
Chloride Exide installed solar power at Ngiro-are and the Chief Executive’s camp.
We installed a second, 2,400 litre, rain-water tank at Mara Bridge to supplement the fresh water supply.
We completed the construction of a new pit-latrine at Ngiro-are to replace one that collapsed in March.
The mason started work on the store at Serena. He has made 700 building blocks and will start construction of the store in May.
We started cutting grass to thatch the uniports at Mara Bridge, work will commence at the beginning of May.
The grader repaired the main road between Oloololo and Mara Bridge and also worked on the short roads to the river.
The Serena airstrip has been damaged by heavy storms. The road crew have patched up the airstrip as best they can but we will have to close it for a day or two in May and grade it.
Revenue and Accounts
Revenue for March continued to exceed previous years by a considerable margin. There will be a drop in revenue for April and May but again the overall revenue should exceed that collected in previous years.
The accounts for the year to date, ending February show the following:
The cash surplus registered for the year has enabled us to pay off some of the accumulated debts and establish a reserve.
Report on focus for April
Focus for May
· Staff appraisals;
· Meet new Clerk to Council;
· Complete work plan to go with budget;
· Re-draft ToR of Board;
· Follow up on Tax exemption;
· Repair Serena airstrip; and
· Continue work on store at Serena