Daily showers in early July and, in places, local storms continued to hamper our work programme. However, the weather cleared for two weeks and we were able to grade the main Mara Bridge to Oloololo gate road and all the roads to Kichwa, Mpata, Olonana and Little Governors. We are grateful for fuel contributions from all lodges while the grader was working there.
We requested that KATO circulate a brief reminder of Park Rules to their membership, this followed a series of incidents involving tour drivers driving off road, crowding and harassing animals and generally showing little regard for the rules. KATO have circulated the rules and we have noted a marked improvement in driver adherence to the rules.
Ms Leslie Roach and her family stayed in the Conservancy for four days from the 3rd until the 7th. Ms Roach visited the Ngiro-are station and very kindly donated US$ 5,000 for the construction of an office and radio room. This will complete the building requirements for Ngiro-are for the foreseeable future.
Dr Jens Jung returned on the 4th to continue with his research on burning. He will be here with three students for the next four months. The four students that were here with last year all graduated with Masters Degrees but we are still awaiting their research findings.
Mr Simon Trevor returned to continue his film called “Natural Security” and gave Board members a preview on the 22nd. It was agreed that Mr Trevor may return to make a promotional film on the Conservancy.
We burnt the two planned sections in July, the grass was still too damp in our first attempts early in the month and we had to wait until the 20th and 21st before we could get a satisfactory burn. These burns were immediately followed by heavy showers and should turn the grass green.
The Senior Warden attended a Masai Mara Management Association meeting in Narok and also attended the official opening of the Koiyaki Guiding School on the 12th July.
The Board met on the 22nd in the Mara, with a follow-up meeting on the 27th. There was also an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members to approve a revised Articles of Association. The new Articles were approved with the required 75% majority.
The first zebra began crossing into the Triangle on the 11th from Loita. The first large herds of wildebeest arrived on the 30th, crossing into the Triangle near Mara Bridge, many of the wildebeest joined the zebra on the burn near Serena. Very few animals have found the second burn between the swamp and Tanzanian border, although there are small groups of Thompson’s gazelle moving onto the burns.
One large pride of lions – 28, of which 15 are cubs returned after an absence of several months. This pride originally lived in the Mlima Mbili area before moving to the Ol Are swamp. Most of the cubs have been born in the last year, with the youngest now about six months old. The pride moved into Tanzania in February and was occasionally seen in the Limana area by our patrols.
The rhino female treated by Dr Kashmiri in June is looking much better.
The Chief Executive took four days off between 13-17 July.
We celebrated the arrest of 400 poachers with a staff party at Ngiro-are on the 24th, a bull was purchased and slaughtered for the party.
A disciplinary committee sat and deliberated on an incident at Ngiro-are where three rangers ganged up on a grader driver and forced him to leave camp. The senior person in the group was transferred to Kilgoris and the others given warning letters.
Camps and lodges in the Triangle are all reporting excellent bookings for the high season. Mara Serena is confirmed full through September. The table below shows a dramatic increase in day visitors into the Triangle during July. This figure represents more people entering the Triangle from other areas in the Mara, from whom we receive no revenue, than we have beds in the Triangle.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in July
A total of 12 wa Kuria poachers were arrested in the month, bringing the total arrested since the Conservancy began operations to 419. Our patrols found very few wire snares but there were reports of high levels of poaching, and huge numbers of wire snares being recovered well into Tanzania.
Four wa Kuria poachers were arrested on the 29th June by our Serena team on a patrol along the Mara River, upstream from Kokatende in Tanzania. The four had arrived that night and were in the process of butchering a hippo that had died. The same day the Ngiro-are team and Tanzanian rangers from Kinyangaga arrested two wa Kuria poachers and three people for illegal grazing in Tanzania.
The following day the same team found meat drying in a tree, on an island in the river, very close to Kokatende and ambushed the meat for two nights, no one returned. It was assumed that the poachers had taken one load of meat home and that they had stashed the remainder for a second trip.
Tanzanian anti-poaching teams reported very heavy poaching between Lobo and Bologonja, as the migration moved towards the Kenya border. There were reports of 800 and 200 wire snares being collected. The Ngiro-are team joined forces with their Tanzanian counterparts on one day in that area and found a place where at least 40 people had de-camped that morning. They reported dozens of animal carcasses of all types including: wildebeest, zebra, topi, Thompson’s gazelle, impala and oribi.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested by the Ngiro-are team on the 22nd they had caught numerous fish and had killed one animal along the Mara River, well downstream from Kokatende. There were further indications of poacher activity in the area and they set a night ambush – arresting one further person that night.
Some cattle were reported stolen near Kawai on the night of the 24th a major operation was mounted at 4.00 am, when we received the report. It appears that the cattle were never stolen as they were all found the following day.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested by a combined Ngiro-are and Tanzanian team late on the night of the 28th near Nyakita pembe in Tanzania. The poachers were part of a very large group who were hunting Thompson’s gazelle. They had killed two gazelle by the time they were apprehended after midnight.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested on the night of the 30th by a combined Serena and Ngiro-are team near Nyakita pembe in Tanzania. They were in a group of four who had arrived about 11.00 pm and had killed one Impala when arrested at 1.30 am.
We tried burning on the 7th 8th and 9th and were hampered by rain and un-seasonally green grass. The area was burnt again satisfactorily on the 20th and 21st.
The grader completed all the main roads and graded roads to all the camps and lodges that use the Triangle within Trans Mara. It will complete one remaining road along the escarpment in early August.
The tractor cut nearly 300 kms of game viewing tracks and then continued with road repairs on the Oloololo to Mara Bridge section of the main road.
We completed the store and it is now operational. We are planning on renovations to all buildings and this will be started in August. We are also planning on altering the laundry room in the Serena camp to be a staff canteen.
Revenue and Accounts
June revenue was higher that for the corresponding period last year, we fully anticipate July revenue to match or possibly exceed July 2004 revenue.
Our draft Profit and Loss account for the year ending May 31st showed revenue of Ksh 55.2 million against expenditure of Ksh 47.4 million, giving a net income of Ksh 7.8 million. This is the first year in which we have shown a reasonable trading profit. However, the balance sheet shows total assets of Ksh 7.1 million against current liabilities of 6.0 million.
Report on focus for July
Focus for August
· Send out tender for Earthview audit;
· Prepare for Conservancy audit, to begin September;
· Complete and distribute uniforms;
· Start work on drifts;
· Modify laundry to staff canteen at Serena;
· Start work on building maintenance;
· Complete grading escarpment road;
· Concentrate on anti-harassment at crossings;
· Complete and circulate PKF audit on group ranch account; and
· Demarcate and possibly burn one block for ILRI.