There was heavy rain over the whole Triangle on the 11-12th and again in the last week of August. This was most welcome on the burnt areas and has led to a strong green flush of grass.
The Chief Executive met with Mr Nigel Pavitt on the 11th, to discuss his possible recruitment onto the Mara Conservancy Board. He also spoke to Mr James Robertson, who has agreed in principle to accept a position on the Board if invited.
We were visited by a team from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), headed by Jens Jung on the 26th, to discuss research on burning in the Triangle. The research team will return in early September and prepare transects in readiness for some controlled burning in October.
The Senior Warden and Administrator completed their sections of the Annual Work Plan, there will be a meeting organised for early September with the Accountant to finalise the plan and prepare a budget.
We had a meeting with ILRI, Mr N ole Kamuaro, and GTZ on the Serengeti/Yellowstone/ Mara initiative on the 27th at Mara Serena.
One of our female cheetah (ear tag no 151) had three cubs, unfortunately she lost two of them early on and remains with one. One other cheetah was seen with four very young cubs at the end of the month.
On the 10th a lion was reported injured near Mara Bridge, Dr Kashmiri was called but unfortunately the lion died before he could arrive. It was probably injured in a fight with another lion – the third time we have witnessed this in three years near Mara Bridge. There are one or two other lions with minor injuries.
One elephant calf was killed in a wire snare on the Tanzanian side of the border.
All the camps and lodges in the Mara Triangle remain be full. This will continue throughout September and the prognosis for October is looking excellent, with Serena already reporting over 80% confirmed bookings for October.
The following table reflects the number of non-paying visitors to the Mara Triangle. These are made up of visitors who are staying outside the Triangle and are paying their fees to Narok County Council or Group Ranches but are afforded entry on the basis of traversing rights in force in the Mara eco-system. The table compares these figures with those of visitors who are based in the Triangle but visit Narok for the day for the period 20 July to 20 August 2004. The number of day visitors far exceeds the total number of fee paying visitors possible in the Mara Triangle for the same period.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle
16 poachers were arrested during the month and 187 wire snares recovered. One elephant, one hippo, twenty nine wildebeest and one zebra were known to have been killed; all but the hippo were snared in the Lemai Wedge - outside the Triangle, or right on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. The total number of poachers arrested to date has reached 301 and we have recovered approximately 2,000 wire snares.
On the night of the 7th one poacher was arrested as he returned home from the Reserve at 3.00 am. We received a report at 1.00 am that a group had entered the Reserve near Ngiro-are and rangers were immediately mobilised. They set up a series of ambushes along the top of the escarpment and arrested one wa Kuria – operating alone. He was carrying 6 wire snares.
The Kenyan poacher, Mr Joseph arap Rotich, who escaped the ambush at the end of July was tracked down and arrested on the 18th.
On the 23rd two wa Kuria poachers were arrested in a joint operation with our Tanzanian counterparts at Daraja Mbili in Tanzania. The poachers had killed two wildebeest and had 70 wire snares, all were recovered.
On the 24th a patrol team recovered 20 wire snares from along the Tanzanian border. One elephant calf and two wildebeest were killed. Two other wildebeest were saved.
On the 25th information from one of the community scouts led to the arrest of three Luo women in their camp along the river, in the Triangle downstream from Little Governor’s. Their three male accomplices were not in camp at the time and escaped arrest. The poachers had been in camp for two to four days and had killed one hippo. That night an ambush was set for the men along the escarpment and one of them arrested. The two escapees are known and will be followed up in due course. This group also had two donkeys, used to transport the meat.
14 wire snares were discovered on the 26th along the Tanzanian border, an ambush was laid that evening. One poacher, from a group of two, was arrested at about 8.00 pm, when they came to check their snares. No animals were killed.
On the 27th 3 wa Kuria poachers were arrested at Nyakita Pembe, in Tanzania by a joint patrol from Serena and Ngiro-Are. They had killed three wildebeest; 19 wire snares, bows and poisoned arrows were recovered.
On the 28th a routine patrol with our Tanzanian counterparts recovered 14 wire snares at Nyakita Pembe in Tanzania. No animals had been killed. Four wa Kuria poachers were seen on the far side of the Mara River but unfortunately they escaped. We found two other week old poacher’s camps with the remains of 11 wildebeest and one zebra.
On the 30th a routine patrol near Daraja Mbili in Tanzania came across a large poacher’s camp. Four of the nine poachers were arrested. They had killed 12 wildebeest and we recovered 30 wire snares.
14 wire snares were recovered along the border, between Ngiro-are and Kinyangaga outposts on the 31st the poachers had killed one wildebeest and taken the carcass up the escarpment.
The recruits completed their training on the 11th, were examined on the 12th and participated in a passing out parade on the 14th. The MP, Hon Gideon Konchellah was the guest of honour and was accompanied by the District Commissioner, other Members of the District Security Committee, the Clerk and Chairman of the County Council. Prizes were awarded for the best recruits in each discipline as follows: Saiyanka, class; Kimanjoi, drill; Ntoika, field-craft; Lelenya, shooting; and Bett, discipline.
We recruited Ms Jane Kipas as a replacement for the late Angela Nanyuu.
The rangers were transferred on their six-monthly rotation on the 15th.
The toilet block at Mara Bridge became operational in early August – with running water for basins and urinals.
The grader completed work on the roads to Ngiro-are and will grade the short section between the Kichwa Tembo airstrip and Little Governor’s in early September.
We moved for of the CMC houses to Hammerkop camp, as a ranger base for the migration. The rangers will be deployed on the 1st September.
The road crew cleared out all the culverts and spent the last week repairing then drift just before Oloololo gate, in collaboration with staff from Kichwa Tembo.
Revenue and Accounts
July was the best month in terms of revenue collected since the Mara Conservancy started operations in 2001, with collections reaching Ksh 13.8 million (approximately US$ 172,000). This was 50% higher than June and 55% higher than July 2003. We anticipate August, and possibly September, revenue to be at least as high. This may enable us to develop a slight reserve for the first time since inception.
Report on focus for August
Focus for September
- Complete Annual Work Plan and budget;
- Hold Board meeting;
- Establish ranger post at the Salt Lick;
- Grade road to Little Governor’s;
- Grade road along escarpment and possibly along the Mara River between Serena and Sankuria, near Oloololo;
- Prepare for Audit, commencing beginning October;
- Repair broken culverts and work on repairing main roads; and
- Continue building maintenance.