July was for the most part dry, with one or two heavy showers and thunderstorms in the last week. Two large fires burnt a portion of the South and Western portions of the Reserve – one was started by our own security staff and got out of control and we suspect drivers, probably from Kichwa Tembo, for starting the second.
The first zebra started appearing in mid-July, as at the end of the month there are reasonable concentrations of zebra and a few wildebeest on the burnt areas. Most of the animals have been crossing over from the north-east above Mara Serena.
One cheetah was reported to have given birth to three cubs near Mlima Mbili, they have not been seen for two weeks. One of the nearly adult cubs in a group of three cheetah most commonly seen in the reserve has just been reported to have lost an eye. We have contacted Dr Kashmiri to come and treat this cub, together with a young male lion with an injured back leg.
The resident rhino reportedly went across the river for a few days, she did the same last year.
One hippo was found dead along the river above Olonana, a second was seen with arrows in its back in the same area.
A second meeting scheduled with the Clerk to Narok County Council was postponed.
The Terms of Reference for the Board and Chief Executive, together with a revised Operational Plan were reviewed by the Chief Executive and comments passed on to the Chairman and Mr G Davies. These draft documents have been circulated to all Board members. A draft Budget, Staff Charter and Financial Management Manual will be circulated to the Board in early August.
One of the companies invited to tender for revenue collection visited the Reserve and the Chief Executive spent one day with them. The Chief Executive met with representatives of Ernst & Young in Nairobi and provided all the information that they requested. Ernst & Young have subsequently withdrawn from the Tender process. We expect three Tender documents by the end of July and will need to convene a panel to review the documents and award the Tender before 15th August.
The US Fish & Wildlife have donated US$ 36,190 towards the purchase of Conservancy Vehicles. These funds will be paid directly to CMC Motors Corporation in August.
President Wade of Senegal visited the Triangle on the 6th July for the day. The visit was a great success. The Aga Khan visited the Triangle for three days from the 8th July on a private visit and stayed at Mara Serena.
Ms Alison Jones visited the Triangle from the 6th – 8th, Ms Jones is a donor whose support we greatly value.
The Conservancy hosted a film crew for a series of programmes called eye-on, this year’s eye-on focus is on Kenya and the Masai Mara features in one of several programmes being made on Kenya.
M/s B Heath and J Baxendale met with the Chief Executive of Serena Hotels and Lodges, Mr Jan Mohamed, in Nairobi. A number of issues were discussed including Serena’s first option to develop new tourism facilities in the Triangle. It was agreed that the Conservancy would develop a Tourism Development Plan and present it to Serena for their consideration. A potential camping site has been shown to the Mara Serena management for their consideration.
Musiara Gate continue to refuse entry to tourists holding Group Ranch tickets, this follows a directive to the revenue collectors on the Narok side of the Reserve from the Clerk to Narok County Council instructing them to do so. It appears that this directive is aimed at Koyaki but it also affects Kichwa Tembo.
All the camps and lodges are reporting excellent bookings for August. Indeed Mara Serena are over-booked for virtually every day in August. We have proposed that they establish a temporary campsite along the river to cater for some of the over-booking. The revenue for July and August should be at least as good, if not better, than for the same period last year.
Mr Craig Griffiths set up a temporary camp along the Oloololo escarpment for one client who stayed two days. This camp was set up as a trial prior to offering other operators longer-term camping facilities. This will be done after the Tourism Development Plan has been prepared and issued affecting potential environmental impact have been addressed.
The fourth Lodge and Camp Manager’s meeting was held at Little Governor’s on the tenth. It was agreed that all resident drivers should have at least their bronze level Kenya Professional Safari Guides (KPSGA) qualifications by the end of 2002 and that all driver/guides operating in the Triangle should have the qualification by July 2003.
A total of 7 arrests were made during the month, all 7 were Wa Kuria poachers from Tanzania. This brings the total arrests since June 2001 to 84.
Six poachers were arrested on the Tanzanian side of the border in a joint operation with Serengeti rangers on the 8th July. Three poachers were arrested with aircraft assistance in the morning and a further three were arrested on the same night. There is evidence of very heavy poaching in an area known as Na Mailumbwa, towards Bologonja Gate in the Serengeti and along Sand River on the Narok side of the Reserve. The Tanzanians have reported recovering 120 wire snares in a single operation.
A routine patrol along the river between Mara Serena and Little Governor’s on the 10th came across four Luo poachers and a large quantity of hippo meat. The poachers had most probably come from across the river the previous evening and were waiting for nightfall before carrying their meat out of the Reserve.
There was a report from the community scouts on the 22nd that Luo poachers were seen heading for Sankuria, a large thicket near Oloololo Gate. A patrol came across the Luo, who had killed a waterbuck, unfortunately they escaped. It appears that the Luo were camped outside the Reserve along the escarpment but were hunting in the Reserve.
One Kuria poacher was arrested on the night of 25th July on the border near Ngiro-are. He was in a group of 6 poachers that stopped to cook a meal at about 10.00 pm. The light of the fire was seen using a night vision monocular loaned to the Conservancy by Anne Kent-Taylor. The group was surrounded by a night patrol but unfortunately the poachers heard movement before the ambush could be sprung. They were on their way into the Reserve and had not started hunting; about ten wire snares were recovered.
We have been informed that the security staff have been registered as Police Reservists, and not Special Police, their new Police force numbers will be issued in the near future.
The Clerk, County Council of Trans Mara and the Chief Executive met with the Commanding Officer the GSU Training School and his senior officers at Embakasi on the 22nd July. As a result of this meeting a formal application has been made to the Provincial Police Officer, Rift Valley, for assistance in providing certain items required for the training. The Chief Training Officer will visit the Reserve on 6th August to review facilities and site a firing range and drill square.
On the 29th received a report that a disgruntled former employee of Mara Serena’s living in Angata Baragoi was planning a raid on the Lodge. This information has been passed on to the appropriate authority in Kilgoris and to the lodge management.
D Seur, the Senior Warden, was given two weeks off to get his driving licence and was due to return on the 17th July. He had not reported back as at 31st July.
We have received a second tranche of funds from Ms Jorie Butler-Kent. One more community scout will be recruited from Angata Baragoi in early August. He will be equipped and given a short orientation course. If funds permit a second scout will be recruited from along the escarpment.
Mr Patrick Siparo has started a three-month consultancy on administration. He will work with the Wardens to develop correct administrative procedures for staff.
We have recruited Mr Jaswinder Soin, a chartered accountant, to prepare last year’s accounts for audit. Mr Soin is in the process of preparing a balance sheet, profit/loss account and all the relevant schedules for audit and it is hoped that this work will be completed by the end of August. If the work is satisfactory Mr Soin will be retained on a part-time basis to prepare monthly accounts for the Conservancy.
The Chief Executive was unable to take more than two days off in July and is now planning to take 10 days off from the 15th August.
We completed the road to Little Governor’s camp and the road to Mpata Club, we also assisted in making a small road to Illokowya Primary School in advance of a Harambee there as our contribution to the Harambee. I understand that over Ksh 700,000 was raised for the school.
There has been no written request from Narok to assist with the road from Mara Bridge to Keekorok and so no work has been done on this road.
New camp sites have been identified and minimal clearing done in some of them.
A new toilet and kitchen have been built at Mara Bridge and all the uniports painted olive green. Work has started on a temporary office at Mara Bridge, to replace the buildings demolished in May. The water catchment tank is almost complete and will be completed in Auguust.
There has been no development on the viewing platform, funds have not been raised and Mr Peter Behr has been unavailable. The Lodge manager’s meeting recommended that this project be put on hold.
Two uniports have been thatched at Ngiro-are in preparation of the training. We will retrieve three other County Council uniports from Olkurruk and build them at Ngiro-are. Two tents have also been purchased in readiness for the training.
Revenue and Accounts
Revenue for June was slightly higher than budgeted, it is expected that revenue for July and August will also exceed projected amounts. However, vehicle repayments will continue to put a major strain on our ability to develop.
It should be noted that we have received no balloon income from Musiara since February and from TransWorld since March.
Report on focus for July
Focus for August
- Complete 2001/2 accounts for Audit
- Complete Tender process and award contract for revenue collection
- Work with GSU to start refresher training for rangers
- Send remaining documentation for review by Board
- Complete office at Mara Bridge
- Complete annual work plan for review by Board
- Complete tourism development plan and circulate
- Review management agreement with Clerk, County Council of Trans Mara
- Follow-up Narok tickets with Clerk to Narok County Council
- Dr Kashmiri to treat injured lion and cheetah
- Move uniports from Olkurruk to Ngiro-are