We had a couple of days of rain in the middle of the Triangle around the 6th. This was followed by several days more rain, some heavy, from the 10th.
The Kenya Government has done a great deal to address with the security situation at the Coast and we look forward to a significant improvement. Some of the hotels and camps around Lamu have reopened and we look forward to situation returning to normal in the near future. Coastal tourism has a direct impact on the Mara, as a number of people who come to Kenya for a beach holiday will do an excursion to the National Parks and Game Reserves.
The Chief Executive met with Dr Larry Allen from Clemson University in the United States on the 28th. He is in Kenya for five months working with the Masai Mara University in Narok and working on developing Apps that people can use to get information on: rules, places of interest, wildlife locations etc... In time it is hoped that the Apps may be able to identify individual animals, provide the exact location of sightings to management on a server and help with tracking vehicle movement within the Reserve.
Morani, one of our bloodhounds was operated on to correct his Entropion, where a portion of the eyelid is inverted and the eyelashes scratch the surface of the eye, causing him considerable discomfort. He may require follow-up surgery in a few months, to remove additional loose skin on his forehead.
Chris Dutton and Amanda Subalusky returned to continue their research on the Mara River. Chris will be around for a while but Amanda returns to the United States in early September.
Dr Femke Broekhuis and Nick Elliott visited the Triangle for few days to study the lion and cheetah population. Ms Ljubica Butkovic, who has been studying the Oloololo pride for the past three months for her MSc, will be leaving at the beginning of September.
The rain brought back huge herds of wildebeest and by the 8th we had large concentrations where it had rained for a few days before they all dispersed again. They were beginning to return again at the end of the month. It is much too early for the wildebeest to start their migration South and, unless it rains heavily in September, they should be around for the next two months.
A lioness was found dead along “Izabella’s Lugga”, between Iseiya and Purungat. It appeared that other lions had killed her. She had lived alone in that area for some time and had recently been seen with two males.
The roan antelope male was seen daily near the Kichwa airstrip, and around Oloololo Gate for several days around the middle of the month.
We heard a report on the 21st that 13 hyena had been poisoned near Kawai, on the escarpment.
Wardens Joseph Kimojino and Joshua Naiguran were transferred to the County on the 11th. They were our two senior most wardens and their departure left a large gap.
The County transferred an Administrator to the Conservancy, he will start work at the beginning of September.
Americans continue to be our predominant non-resident visitors but Chinese and Indians have overtaken other nationalities and are now the second and third most predominant visitors to the Triangle. The first three weeks in August were very busy throughout the Mara but visitor numbers started dropping off towards the end of the month and September is not looking very busy.
Mara Engai Camp started work on a road into the Mara Triangle. Work on this road was then stopped, pending written authority from the Governor, Narok County. Mara Engai have agreed to build a gate and staff quarters for revenue clerks and rangers.
A total of 40 poachers were arrested during August and 1,918 snares collected by our security teams. As a rule of thumb, we find that one animal has been caught in approximately every ten snares we find, many have been butchered and the snares reset, others have been found dead in snares and others are rescued. If we were to extrapolate and those snares had remained in place for the whole month, they would have potentially killed 5,750 animals in August alone. Snares are completely indiscriminate in what they capture and kill. Wildebeest and zebra are the main target but anything from an impala to an elephant can be caught – one lioness was killed this month and another lion last month.
Routine patrols by our Iseiya and Purungat teams recovered 346 wire snares in the Lemai Wedge on the 2nd. The Iseiya team recovered 89 in the Maji ya Bett to Miungu area – and found where a lioness had been killed and skinned, the claws and fat were also removed. They also found a hyena dead in a snare; it had been caught and then speared. They rescued one wildebeest, found one had been butchered and also found where five zebra had been butchered. The Ngiro-are team recovered 257 snares that day. They rescued one wildebeest and found where six had been butchered.
The Iseiya team arrested one person carrying a wildebeest carcase during an early morning patrol near Lempise, in the Lemai Wedge. Our patrols recovered 153 wire snares that day. The Ngiro-are rangers arrested one more person on the 6th near Kokamange – he had five snares on him. A further 41 snares were recovered that day.
Two men were arrested by our patrol teams on the 7th, at 8.30 pm. They were carrying the meat from two wildebeest and one zebra – all butchered and the meat wrapped around long sticks. They had three wire snares on them. The following day 19 snares were recovered and one wildebeest rescued.
The Iseiya team arrested two more people on the 9th just after they had crossed the Mara River, near Jiko Nane in the Lemai Wedge. Thirteen wire snares were recovered. Our rangers found one elephant tusk on the 10th on the Serengeti side of the border and handed over to TANAPA rangers.
A total of 269 wire snares were recovered on the 11th by both teams. Four wildebeest and one zebra were rescued, one wildebeest and one topi were found dead in snares and three wildebeest had been butchered and the meat taken. The following day a further 57 snares were recovered by the Ngiro-are team. That evening they joined forces with their TANAPA counterparts from Kinyangaga and managed to arrest five, of six, people near Kokamange at about 7.00 pm.
The rangers found a poachers’ camp on Limana on the 13th and saw where approximately 20 wildebeest had been butchered. It appeared that the poachers had taken the meat but were set to return; they had left their belongings and food in camp. They also found 32 snares, 2 wildebeest dead in the snares, and managed to rescue one.
A total of 267 snares were recovered in the Lemai Wedge on the 14th. One wildebeest was rescued and three were found dead. The Iseiya team went on a late patrol and managed to arrest three people entering the Serengeti with 24 snares.
Twelve snares were recovered on the 15th. Two wildebeest were rescued, two were found dead in snares and a further four had been butchered. In the following two days a further 176 snares were collected, mainly around Maji ya Bett, in the Lemai Wedge; at least 13 wildebeest had been slaughtered, three were found dead in snares and a further six were rescued.
Our rangers joined up at 3.00 am on the 18th and managed to arrest two people at 5.00 am on the Masanga route, as they returned from checking their snares; eight escaped. The whole group had killed, and were carrying, 11 wildebeest. The same evening the Ngiro-are rangers arrested one person near Kokamange and found a topi in a snare.
Our patrols recovered 89 snares on the 19th and rescued four wildebeest. The following morning our rangers did another early morning patrol and managed capture to three, of eight, people at 5.20 am. They had six snares and were carrying one wildebeest.
A total of 155 snares were collected on the 21st by our patrols in the Lemai Wedge. Three wildebeest were rescued, four had been butchered and a further two were dead in snares. The Iseiya team arrested three people during a late evening operation, and recovered 11 snares from them. The patrol team came across an ostrich nest that had been surrounded by brush, leaving a single gap for an ostrich to pass through. A deep pit had then been dug in the gap and covered with light twigs and soil. Obviously the intention was to capture the ostrich and possibly kill it for the feathers and meat.
Seven people were arrested on the 22/23. The Ngiro-are rangers arrested two people at 9.00 pm and the Iseiya rangers arrested five more people between 6-7 am on the 23rd. The first group had killed one wildebeest and the second group were carrying the carcasses of four wildebeest. Both groups had been hunting and were returning home near Ol Aro Nyioke in the Lemai Wedge. The Oloololo and Anne Kent-Taylor rangers then patrolled the area from which the poachers had returned and collected 70 wire snares around Miungu.
The Ol Kurruk rangers arrested two people new Kawai on the 24th with zebra meat. They were taken to Lolgorien. Our other teams arrested one person near Nyakita Pembe in the Lemai Wedge. This person had made a small home for himself and had cultivated approximately 300 maize plants – well within the Serengeti. He had fishing gear, a spear and 11 wire snares were found nearby. A further 55 snares were recovered by the Ngiro-are team and two wildebeest rescued. That night we received a call to say that a tent had been robbed in Karen Blixen Camp on Mara North. The deployed the dog team and rangers and managed to arrest the culprit and recover tickets and passports. An i-pad, phone and $Australian 150 were not recovered.
Three people were arrested on the 25th by the Ngiro-are rangers as they entered the northern Serengeti at Ngira. The people in that area chase animals into steep watercourses and kill animals by hamstringing them and then spearing them.
Our combined teams collected 121 snares from around Sampura and Limana between the 26th and 28th; two wildebeest were rescued but two zebra and two wildebeest had been butchered.
The Iseiya team arrested three people at Nyakita Pembe, in the Lemai Wedge on the 30th, recovered 11 snares and rescued one wildebeest and on the following day the Ol Kurruk rangers arrested one person carrying zebra meat on his motor cycle at Partikilat, along the escarpment.
Revenue and Accounts
July revenue was more than double that for June but 7% below revenue for July 2013. All the indications are that August will be an excellent month but there will be a sudden and dramatic drop off in September; essentially leaving us with a six week high season, instead of a three month season. This will be insufficient to replenish our reserves and we will have to make more hard decisions on cost cutting measures.
We have greatly increased the sale of promotional items at the gates – the new Mara Triangle Guidebook has been a great success. However, the amounts raised will in no way meet our budgetry shortfall and we will still require donor support to see us through this financial year.
The Serena airstrip was closed for ten days from the 15th, to enable it to be resurfaced. This is part of a programme to upgrade all the airstrips in the Game Reserve and follows on the rehabilitation of Ol Kiombo and Keekorok.
We completed making the entrance roads into Ndovu and Maji ya Ndege camps all weather and then patched the major roads to Purungat.
We continue to do minor repairs on buildings at the different stations.
Report on focus for August
Focus for September 2014
· Hold Board meeting 12th September;
· Continue with minor road repairs;
· Continue with fund-raising efforts;
· Survey Reserve boundary.