There were heavy and widespread rain storms in the last ten days of December, one storm washed a vehicle over the Sabaringo lugga, near Kichwa Tembo, and nearly washed away a culvert between Kichwa and Oloololo Gate. There was a particularly heavy storm again on the 31st and at the end of the month most areas were completely sodden and all the water courses full. This made it difficult for vehicles to move around and also damaged the road network.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand visited on the 3rd and 4th, he was accompanied by a large delegation from the Ministry of Tourism and the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB).
We also had a visit from the Japanese Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs on the 3rd.
The Chief Executive made a short presentation on the Mara Conservancy as a model for protected area management to 12 US Congressional aides on the 11th at Olonana. The visit was supported by WWF and KTB.
The Chief Executive signed an agreement with members of Koyaki, Lemek and Ol Choro Ranches to assist with the grading of a road between Ngorengore and Mara Rianta. Funding has been sought from tour operators to repair some of the culverts and drifts on this road.
Blue Sky films spent three days in the Triangle making an advert for Tchibo coffee.
The auditors delivered a draft set of accounts for the year ending May 2004, these were circulated to Board members prior to the meeting on the 17th.
The Chief Executive met with Mr Philip Coulson of Kaplan & Stratton Advocates on the 8th and again on the 14th to review the draft Articles of Association.
There was a Board meeting on the 17th, at which M/s W Roberts and A Root resigned. The Board also confirmed Giles Davies’ resignation. Prior to their resignation the audited accounts for 2002/3 were signed; Nigel Pavitt and James Robertson were appointed as new Directors. In the afternoon of the same day the new Board met and deliberated on the amended Articles of Association.
Mr Parmois Siampei attended a meeting held by the Tourism Trust Fund (TTF) at Sarova on the 28th, TTF will fund a consultant to develop a tourism development plan for the whole Mara.
The Chief Executive met with members of the Siana Group Ranch and then made a follow-up visit to Siana on the 30th. Siana have set aside and area of approximately 20,000 hectares as a conservation area would initially like assistance with developing a road network.
Dr Kashmiri came up on the 29th to treat one of our cheetah with mange, the mange had started on the animal’s ears but was spreading over the body and was affecting the animal’s condition. On the same day we looked for a young lioness that had been injured in a fight but were unable to locate it.
Almost all the wildebeest had left by the end of the month. There were still reasonable concentrations of zebra but they too started crossing the river and heading North between Christmas and New Year.
The lion population seems to be thriving, with at least six prides of between nine and fourteen that are seen on a regular basis.
After a quiet fortnight at the beginning of the month lodge occupancy rates picked up and most camps and lodges were full over the .Christmas/New Year period. Coastal tourism has improved considerably over the past few years and we are reaping the benefit, with several flights arriving from the coast on a daily basis.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in December
There was a real decline in poacher activity during December with only 2 poachers arrested and 29 wire snares recovered. There were no known incursions into the Triangle. The total number of poachers arrested now stands at 352.
One poacher was arrested at 1.00 am on the night of the 2nd, a routine patrol had found some meat hidden in a tree and set up an ambush. The person arrested was actually one of two people hunting Thompson’s gazelle with dogs and had not come for the meat. The Ngiro-are team found 11 snares on the same day and a further five the following day.
On the 3rd three wire snares were found at Daraja Mbili in Tanzania, an ambush was set but no one returned.
On the 4th one person was found at Sanguria, near Oloololo Gate by our rangers and Anne Kent Taylor’s scouts – he appeared to be mentally unstable and was returned to Tanzania. Two weeks later the same person was found in the reserve again and taken to Kokatende.
On the 7th a patrol with Anne Kent Taylor’s scouts and two of our rangers arrested one person at Ol Motonyi, between Lolgorien and Kilgoris; one other person escaped. The poacher had game meat, ten wire snares and a machete.
A number of routine ambushes throughout the month indicted a very low level of poaching, any activity was mainly on the far side of the Mara River. In the last three weeks of December there were no fresh signs of poaching anywhere near the border, coinciding with the southerly migration of the last remaining wildebeest and the onset of the rains.
Mr Douglas Sikawa, started his annual leave on the 12th and will return in early February.
We sent most of the subordinate staff off for Christmas and they will resume on the 3rd January.
The Chief Executive took four days off over Christmas and resumed on the 28th.
The grader touched up sections of road that were being damaged by rain. Exceptionally heavy rain around Oloololo Gate washed away part of the culvert on the main road between Kichwa tembo and the gate. This was repaired in a joint effort between ourselves, Kichwa, Mpata and Little Governor’s.
The Chief Executive purchased a mess tent for his camp.
The building at Ngiro-are is almost complete, the masonary work has been completed and the mess roof ready for thatching; we will thatch in January, once the grass is long enough.
We repaired all the damaged seats and made new seat covers for the Chief Executive’s vehicle. In January we will make new canvas hood for the two Land Rover pick-ups.
Revenue and Accounts
It is anticipated that December revenue will be similar to last year, the first time in months that revenue is not significantly higher than for the corresponding period in previous years.
The 2002/3 accounts were approved and signed by the Board on the 17th, the 2003/4 accounts were tabled but Board members requested more time to study them before approval.
Report on focus for December
Focus for January
- Hold Board meeting on 18th Jan 05;
- Hold AGM on 18th Jan to approve 2002/3 accounts;
- Finalise review of Articles of Association and table at next Board meeting;
- Finalise 2003/4 accounts and seek approval at next Board meeting;
- Circulate Annual Work Plan and Budget and seek approval at next Board meeting;
- Repair roads and possibly start on Mara Rianta – Ngorengore road, weather permitting;
- Thatch mess area at Ngiro-are; and
- Complete covers for Land Rovers.