The Chief Executive gave a short talk to a large group of Abercrombie and Kent clients at Olonana on the 15th. This was a group of Arthur Blank’s family and friends from Atlanta in the United States; Mr Blank is the founder and owner of Home Depot, one of the largest home store companies in the US.
The Chief Executive spent the day with the Hon G Konchellah, Minister for Immigration and the Hon M Dzoro, Minister for Tourism on the 16th. They visited two potential development sites at Nyumba Nane and Cobra Corner. These are sites that have been selected for the construction of two permanent camps, each with a maximum capacity of 50 beds.
The Auditors started our Annual Audit on the 16th and made a field visit to the Mara on the 23rd.
The Chief Executive attended a meeting on the 23rd with camp and lodge owners at Saruni, a camp on the northern edge of the Mara to discuss possible management options for Ol Chorro Oroua and Lemek Ranches.
The Chief Executive met with drivers from Kichwa Tembo to discuss Park rules. He reiterated the need for resident drivers to set a positive example and asked them to cooperate in advising us of any infringements by visiting drivers. We also spent considerable time in working with non-resident drivers to ensure that they are fully aware of the rules and regulations.
A lioness was observed eating a cub alive on the 14th – the cub was from a pride that had crossed the river for a while and had just returned. The lioness appeared to be part of the pride, but she may have remained on this side when the others crossed over.
The first herds of zebra started crossing the river on the 13th from the Loita plains, these herds usually arrive a week or two before the main zebra and wildebeest herds from Tanzania and this was the case this year, when the first, small groups of wildebeest crossed the river on the 20th.
We held a party on July 1st to celebrate the arrest of 800 poachers. Staff were given copies of Simon Trevor’s DVD’s as a “thank you” for their hard work and commitment.
We instituted a staff pension scheme for all staff with Madison Insurance. The staff each contribute 10% of their basic salary and this is matched by the Conservancy.
The Warden Operations, Edward Nkoitoi, started his annual leave on the 2nd.
The Chief Executive held a number of meetings with Anne Kent-Taylor and Mr Asgar Pathan of Care for the Wild, Kenya on taking over the A K-T Fund scouts. It has been agreed that we will take over the management of six community scouts. The A K-T Fund and Care for the Wild will reimburse us for the scouts and have agreed to purchase radios for them all. They have also agreed to pay fuel costs for Cheetah 1, the monitoring vehicle purchased by Anne Kent-Taylor and now based at Oloololo Gate.
The Table below gives the figures of tourists that visited the Mara Triangle in the year ending June 2007. One can see, yet again, that the number of non-paying visitors to the Triangle far exceeds the paying visitors see Table below: This Table shows that the Mara Conservancy only collects revenue from 46% of the visitors to the Triangle; Narok collects all the revenue from 37% of our visitors and Oloololo Game Ranch collects all revenue from the remaining 17%. This is a situation that is not sustainable. If we were to charge US$10 per visitor, as proposed in 2006, we could potentially generate an additional US$ 800,000 per annum; to be shared between the Council, Conservancy and Community. There has to be more equitable distribution of revenue and the issue must be resolved in the near future.
Approximately 10,000 clients, an average of 28 per day, flew in balloons operating within the Triangle during the last year. Seventy four percent of the clients flew with Mara Balloon Safaris, operating from Little Governor’s and the remainder flew with TransWorld Balloons, operating out of Mara Serena. This generated US$ 165,000 (Ksh 10 million) for the County Council and Mara Conservancy.
We arrested 32 wa Kuria poachers in July and recovered 432 wire snares, all of the arrests were in Tanzania and most of them we in the last ten days of the month. We also arrested five thieves who had broken into shops at Kawai, a local shopping centre, and had wounded one person with an arrow.
We received information on the group in the Sankuria forest, reported on the 28th June. It was a group of Luo poachers who saw the anti-poaching team and escaped up the hill as our rangers were combing the forest. One of the Luo had a heart attack while climbing the escarpment and died, his body then had to be carried out.
Kawai village was raided on the early morning of 4th July and one person shot with an arrow, two shops were broken into and items stolen. Our teams from Serena and Ngiro-are, together with the police and Anne Kent-Taylor scouts, followed-up and arrested two of the thieves. They in turn identified the other six and three of them were arrested on the same day. We left the police to follow up on the remaining three.
The Ngiro-are team arrested one poacher on the 7th near Lemai and recovered five wire snares. The same evening the Serena team arrested one poacher, from a group of four, as they were returning from a hunt. The poachers had been near Masanja, in the Serengeti, for three days and had killed three warthog.
The Ngiro-are team found 27 wire snares set near Kokatende on the 13th and another 15 wire snares in the same area on the 16th. Unfortunately the poachers were not found.
The migration moved up to the Kenya/Tanzania border by the 18th. A large numbers of wa Kuria poachers were reported to have gone to meet the zebra and wildebeest as they entered the northern Serengeti and so we joined forces with our Tanzanian counterparts for a three day patrol across the Mara River. On the first day of the operation we arrested eight wa Kuria poachers; six of them by the Serena team near Saina’s Crossing in the Lemai Wedge. This group had eleven wire snares and were on their way to meet up with the migration. The other two people were arrested by the Ngiro-are/Tanzanian team across the River the same night. The Ngiro-are team collected 142 wire snares and found three dead wildebeest but arrested no more poachers in the operation.
The Serena team arrested two wa Kuria poachers on the 20th near Daraja ya Mzee. These two poachers had killed one zebra when arrested and one of them had just come out of jail, after being arrested in February of this year.
On the 22nd the Serena team collected 45 wire snares across the river, towards Kichwa Tembo and found a poacher’s camp with all their belongings but did not see the poachers. The rangers destroyed all the belongings and burnt meat from two butchered wildebeest.
The Ngiro-are team arrested two poachers at 6.00 am on the 23rd. The poachers had been hunting Thompson’s gazelle at night with torches and had killed four gazelle, all were recovered.
The Ngiro-are team arrested 10 poachers on the 26th. In the first operation they came across 6 poachers in the Lemai Wedge. The poachers were returning from across the river where they had gone to meet the migration, they had killed 4 zebra and 2 topi and had 89 wire snares. That night they arrested another four poachers who were on their way to hunt across the river.
On the 27th the Serena team, who had gone to camp with their Tanzanian counterparts near Bologonja in the Serengeti arrested four poachers. The poachers had killed two wildebeest, 20 wire snares were recovered. The same night the Serena team, arrested a further two poachers in the same area with 48 wire snares.
The Serena team arrested one poacher on the 28th near Bologonja in Tanzania, the other poachers escaped with their wire snares.
The Serena team arrested two, of six, poachers at 3.00 am on the night of the 28th. The poachers were on their way in to hunt wildebeest near Kichwa Tembo in the Serengeti. They had 30 wire snares and had not killed any animals.
Revenue and Accounts
We have purchased and installed a new accounting package called ACCPAC. This package will meet all our accounting requirements and is already automatically generating our monthly financial reports in Excel, where in the past these had to be manually posted.
Our year end accounts, for the period ending 31st May, showed total income of Ksh 98.2 million. This was the Conservancy share of approximately Ksh 210 million in collections for the year. The remainder went to the County Council and Group Ranches. From our share of revenue, Ksh 21.8 million went on commissions for revenue collection, promotion and compensation to the local people for livestock killed and our operating expenses amounted to Ksh 65 million (approximately US$ 1 million). The Kenya Shilling appreciated in value by nearly 10% during the year, from Ksh 72.00 to 65.50 to 1 US$, resulting in exchange rate losses. The figures are detailed in the table below, which gives a summary of income and expenditure for the year.
We collected one of the new Suzuki Maruti vehicles that will be used for anti-harassment work in the Triangle on the 6th. We now have three new Maruti vehicles that will be dedicated to animal monitoring and anti-harassment work. The vehicles are now based at Oloololo Gate, Mara Serena and Mara Bridge.
We completed cutting all the grass tracks.
We re-thatched the mess room at Ngiro-are.
We re-surfaced sections of the lower road to Mara Bridge.
We have resumed work on the Japanese funded road along the swampy section of the river track.
We placed signs along the main roads advising people to remain on the roads and cut grass tracks.
We have negotiated the sale of the grader for Ksh 6 million, in anticipation of purchasing a new machine, a Cat 140H. Stanbic Bank have approved financing 70% of the cost of the grader and we will use proceeds from the sale of our existing machine as our share of the cost.
We completed grading the main Oloololo Gate to Mara Bridge road.
Report on focus for July
Focus for August
· Finalise Audit;
· Continue with purchase of new grader;
· Work on Japanese funded road project;
· Complete re-surfacing sections of lower road to Mara Bridge;
· Resume work on Sergeant’s housing at Serena;
· Undertake routine transfers on the 15th; and
· Transfer staff;