The migration has been very sporadic and weak, although large herds of wildebeest have been seen along the Tanzanian border in the last week of August. Two injured lionesses were seen during the month, both were apparently injured in fights, a third lioness was found dead, it had been dead about a week when found and it was impossible to determine the cause of death. Dr Kashmiri, a veterinarian, from Nairobi flew in and treated one of the lionesses and took a snare off a male lion.
With the lifting of the court stay on July 30th we were able to concentrate on work for the first time since taking over management of the Mara Triangle. The lifting of the stay also enabled up to collect revenue from all the lodges and camps for the first time and letters from the Clerk to the County Council of Trans Mara also enabled us to start collecting balloon revenue.
The Chief Executive visited Kilgoris and met with the DC, Clerk to Trans Mara County Council and the District Engineer. The Conservancy paid Ksh 250,00 towards the cost of security around Kichwa Tembo since June.
Andrew Harding, the resident BBC correspondent visited for three days with a cameraman and producer and filmed a news item for Newsnight on BBC television.
The district engineer visited and pledged two tipper lorries for the roads in September. A road engineer, Dennis Burnett, also visited for two days and offered advice on rehabilitation of the roads.
The executive committee
Dr Chris Thouless, Willy Roberts and Giles Davies visited the Mara for several days and we were able to draft a management/operational plan for the Conservancy.
It was agreed that in future disbursements to the County Council of Trans Mara will be made on the basis of actual visitors to the reserve and not cash collected. We managed to develop a reporting format for Earthview that will enable us to reconcile the income accounts and also provide valuable information on revenue against actual visitors to the reserve.
The executive committee will meet in early September to review the operational plan and deliberate on a strategy for working with the group ranches.
The Nairobi office
This is now established at Triad House, 83 Muthaiga Road. The new Conservancy address is P O Box 63457 Nairobi and Telephone number is 749636. The office is manned by Dolly Njeru, who worked with FARM-Africa. The office has a new computer and will be linked to the internet by early September, as soon as this happens we will have e-mail in the office and a mailbag system to Serena.
The administrator/accountant will be recruited in September as soon as a Terms of Reference are drawn up.
Three security staff were re-deployed to the County Council during the month, two for being drunk on duty and the third for disobeying orders. One other ranger died and two have been sick for the past three months.
The current strength is 15 rangers, 8 corporals and 3 sergeants. This is not sufficient to provide adequate security, as a minimum of 12 security staff are at gates, tourist guiding and guard duty at any one time. Field work has been hampered as a result of the shortage and it has been difficult at times to raise sufficient staff for patrols and observation duties. An evaluation of the security staff was carried out by the officers at the end of August with a view to finding 14 of the best security personnel as a field force. These 14 staff will not be involved in guard or gate duty but will be expected to conduct mobile patrols and establish OP’s from the beginning of September. Despite the weak security force we managed to apprehend 11 poachers during the month, nine of them in one day during a joint operation with rangers from the Serengeti. Since then we have conducted other joint patrols and will continue to do so in future. We are also discussing ways of arresting named poachers who escape and have given their names to the Tanzanians for follow-up.
We collected over 60 snares, found about 300 kg of meat and destroyed food, clothing and blankets belonging to several groups. During the month we also found one large male lion and a zebra dead in snares. Several wildebeest have been found dead close to roads, these animals have been skinned and the meat taken off the bone. We are investigating the possibility that a vehicle is involved. A barrier is proposed for Serena as there are far too many vehicle movements at night.
20 stolen Masai cattle were recovered on the 2nd September in an area called Nyumba nane, unfortunately the 6 rustlers escaped. An ambush was laid for them and two people speaking in Maasai narrowly escaped being caught, they were undoubtedly part of the group that stole the cattle.
The GSU have deployed 9 constables and one corporal at Oloololo gate, at present they are all in one three-roomed house but we will make more room available.
A Caterpillar 140G grader was purchased from Gailey and Roberts for US$ 112,000. A deposit of US$ 36,000 was paid, a further US$ 8,000 is due by 5th September and the remainder over three months, interest free.
Two Gateway computers were purchased, one for the Nairobi office and one for the Mara.
Both windmills were overhauled by Kijito Ltd.
The houses at Oloololo gate are being re-painted and all the plumbing is being repaired. A carpenter will start work in early September.
The labour gang has repaired the worst wash-away on the road before Oloololo gate and repaired part of the main road to Serena.