A Mr Joseph Tipanko ole Karia submitted a petition to the Senate entitled “The financial mismanagement and irregularities in procurement by the County Government of Narok”. Some of his allegations touched on the Mara Conservancy and our association with the Governor. This was the first salvo in a new, concerted, campaign by the Purko community to remove the Governor and is largely driven by self interest and concerns that the Governor will be impossible to dislodge in the next elections if he is allowed to continue with his progressive development programme. There has already been a major improvement in revenue collection, roads, education and health within Narok County.
The Chief Executive met with the Chairman on the 2nd to discuss the current financial situation and a possible way forward.
The Chief Executive met with the Olorien Land Committee to discuss the Reserve boundary on the 10th. It quickly became apparent that the Committee was not interested in surveying the official, gazetted boundary but were laying claim to at least 20 square kilometres within the Reserve – citing a supposed directive from the late President Kenyatta in 1975. They want the survey delayed until they resolve this issue.
The Narok County Government Public Service Board visited the Mara Triangle from the 16th and held a meeting with the Chief Executive and staff seconded from the County on the 17th. The Board was interested in discussing staff working conditions, salaries, promotions and transfers. It was a very interesting and productive meeting and we are grateful to the Board for making the time to visit. Hopefully, we will now be able to resolve and harmonise some of the niggling issues relating to salaries, allowances and promotions and get assistance from the County in accessing Bank loans.
The Sameer Group donated Ksh 703,700 from their “Migration” promotion for Yana Tyres at a small ceremony on the 17th. We are most grateful to Sameer and Yana for their very kind contribution.
Dr Asuka Takita resigned as a full-time employee and in future will be paid for any days worked, as and when she is required.
We sent the Nairobi office staff and road team off for Christmas and they will resume on the 5th January.
A pack of hyena killed two leopard cubs on the 3rd near the Kichwa airstrip – it was witnessed by visitors. A third cub apparently managed to escape but has not been seen since.
Lion sightings have been excellent and there are a number of very young cubs.
The cheetah with four cubs moved across the border into Tanzania mid-month. Hopefully she will return. One female cheetah was seen with mange near the Kichwa airstrip and treated with Ivermectin.
Karanja, a very old and famous rhino from the Narok side of the Reserve died of natural causes over the Christmas period. Karanja was 43 years old.
An elephant calf had a snare removed by a vet from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
The Triangle was busy over the holiday periods; mainly with Kenyans and residents – this was good news for the camps and lodges but did not do a great deal for Park revenue. Seven Kenyans pay the same fees as one foreign tourist. The forecast for the next six months is for very few foreign visitors.
Only three people were arrested for poaching in December, bringing our total arrests to date up to 2,507. We made 278 arrests in 2014 – our record to date. I have summarised the arrests made, and snares collected in Table I, below.
Three people were arrested on the 10th in two separate incidents. In the first, the Iseiya team arrested one person who was fishing near Jiko Nane, in the Lemai Wedge. The Ngiro-are rangers set an ambush near Daraja Mbili that night and managed to arrest two people out of a large group who were hunting Thompson’s gazelle with dogs and torches. Three gazelle had already been killed.
Table I – Summary of arrests made and snares collected since June 2001.
Our Tanzanian counterparts reported an increase in elephant poaching in the northern Serengeti and mounted an operation to deal with it. There were unconfirmed reports of three poachers killed by TANAPA rangers during this operation. One dead elephant was found dead near the Army Drift on the Kenya/Tanzania border on the 24th – the tusks has been removed.
There were a number of minor robberies in the region over the Christmas period and our teams were called out three times to deal with theft from Accacia Camp, Kawai and stocktheft.
Revenue and Accounts
When we thought that things could not get much worse, November revenue came in at Ksh 12,487,215 – down from Ksh 21,176,930 in November 2013 - a drop of 41%. We calculated our share of revenue, after removing KAPS’ commission, at Ksh 4.49 million (US$ 50,000). This is roughly 30% of our monthly budget.
We had already projected that we would run out of reserves by the end of February 2015. This was calculated at a 20% drop in revenue. We will run out of funds at the end of January unless we take drastic measures. By far our greatest single expense is staff salaries – they account for 52%; when other staff expenses are included, they account for 62% of our total budget and no meaningful cuts can be made without slashing these costs. You will see from the above paragraph, and Table below, that our total income for November only covers 50% of the staff costs – let alone all the other expenses. The graph and Table below illustrate the dire position we are in.
Figure I – Financial projection November 2014 to June 2015
Table II – Breakdown of mean monthly expenditure
We replaced the kitchen door at Ngiro-are and did other minor repairs.
We continued to repair our major roads and concentrated on the lower roads between Oloololo Gate and Purungat.
We completed most of the work on the classroom at Partikilat but will have to return for a couple of days in January to finish the floor.
We repaired one of our Land Rovers with a faulty fuel injection pump
Report on focus for December
Focus for January 2015
· Hold Board meeting;
· Conduct staff transfers on the 15th;
· Implement cost cutting measures;
· Complete classroom floor; and
· Survey Reserve boundary.