Exceptionally heavy and destructive storms characterised the rains in the first week of March. These storms caused extensive damage to the newly graded roads and left large areas flooded. They were followed by 10 days of dry weather before the storms returned with a vengeance; a storm on the night of the 21st was one of the heaviest and most violent many people had ever seen. These heavy rains persisted until the end of the month, leaving large areas completely waterlogged.
Ms Diana Carr donated eleven pair of binoculars to the security staff, we are most grateful for the gift.
Mr Simon Trevor from the African Environmental Film Foundation spent five days in the Triangle from the 4th, Mr Trevor has been making a series of acclaimed environmental education films and is currently working on one called Natural Security.
Cannon held a major promotion between the 13-16th March that included some of the world’s best known wildlife photographers and over 80 journalists. They were based at Kichwa Tembo and in a custom built camp on Oloololo for the duration of their promotion. The Chief Executive made a presentation on the Mara Conservancy to the group on the night of the 15th.
We circulated the draft Management Agreement to new Directors and the Council for their comments. There is only slightly over one year remaining on our current management agreement and we hope to be able to negotiate and sign a new agreement in good time. The Council went through a period of turmoil during March but things are returning to normal.
The Chief Executive met with Ms Eli Weiss, founder of the Wildize Foundation on the 30th. She is very interested in funding and supporting a community tourism venture, possibly in the Nyakwiri Forest.
One sick lioness was reported on the 1st, Dr Kashmiri came up on the second but we were unable to locate the animal.
The cheetah that was reported to have six cubs in January was seen frequently with her three surviving cubs. On the 6th she was reported to have an injured leg and unable to hunt. Dr Kashmiri came and looked at the injury on the 7th and it was decided not to immobilize her. She was fed with one Thompson’s gazelle and her injury improved over the next week. On the 8th one of her cubs was reported to be injured – after some deliberation we decided that the best course of action would be to leave the cub with her mother. The cub disappeared a week later.
On the 7th Dr Kashmiri darted one giraffe with an arrow in its shoulder. The arrow was removed and the animal has recovered.
The “Out of Africa” pride regrouped, with all eight cubs and two adult females. One zebra with a broken leg was shot and fed to this pride on the 4th but one of the cubs died on the 6th.
Heavy rains and the resulting tall grass have driven most of the wildlife into short grass areas outside the Triangle. Consequently, game viewing has been difficult, with small concentrations along the escarpment, below Mara Serena and along the Tanzanian border.
Two dead hippo were swept downstream in the flooding that followed exceptionally heavy rains towards the end of the month.
Mr Nicholas Sarisar was accused of sexual harassment on the 8th March by Ms S Eszterhas, a wildlife photographer working for the Cheetah Conservation group. Ms Eszterhas wrote a formal complaint and the matter was dealt with.
The Senior Warden, Douglas Sikawa, was sent to Russia as part of a tourism promotion delegation from the 20th. He returned to the Mara on the 31st.
The Chief Executive took three days off in March.
There were one or two days when visitor numbers dropped in the lodges but on the whole March continued the exceptional season. However, the flooding made it difficult for vehicles to conduct their game drives and continued heavy rain will make the Triangle almost impassable for all but 4 wheel Drive vehicles.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in March
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested during the month, bringing the total to 367. 39 wire snares were recovered.
The heavy rains coincided with a drop in poaching, probably because people were busy cultivating their land. Intensive patrols in the last half of the month revealed little or no poaching activity and there were no known incursions into the Triangle at all during the month.
A routine patrol from Ngiro-are found 29 wire snares in Tanzania on the 10th, the site was ambushed by a combined Tanzanian and Ngiro-are team but no one returned. One zebra was found dead in the snares and a second was saved.
One wa Kuria poacher was arrested on the night of the 11th in a joint operation between ourselves and the Tanzanians near Nyakita Pembe in Tanzania. The poacher was one of a group of at least 13 people who had killed three impala.
One wa Kuria poacher was arrested at 5.00 am on the night of the 19th by the Ngiro-are team as he was returning home. He was one of six people who had killed seven Thompson’s gazelle. He was handed over to our Tanzanian counterparts.
Two wire snares were found on the 21st, an ambush was set all night but no one returned and no arrests were made.
Eight wire snares were recovered on the 27th near Nyakita Pembe in Tanzania.
We purchased supplies for constructing a store at Serena, construction will commence at the beginning of April.
One pit latrine collapsed at Ngiro-are, a new pit has been dug and work will commence in April.
The grader made a road on Oloololo Game Ranch for the Cannon camp. The grader also worked on the road between Oloololo and Mpata Club. We were paid a total of Ksh 173,000 for both sets of work. Persistent use of the Oloololo road has damaged the road considerably, we will have to patch it up as soon as we get a few dry days.
The tractor cleared a camp site for Cannon on Oloololo. The road team worked on cleaning out culverts and opening up blocked drains.
The new Land-Cruiser is due for collection in the first week of April, it has been sent to CMC engineering for a frame, seats and bull-bars and will be ready for use in April.
Chloride Exide have been paid their deposit and are due to install the solar systems in the Chief Executive’s camp and Ngiro-are in early April.
Revenue and Accounts
February revenue was well up on February last year and the trend will almost certainly continue through March. The Kenya Shilling has appreciated by 10% on the US$ in the last three months, this has had the effect of significantly reducing income as most payments are made in $. The feeling is that the KSh is overvalued and we can expect a drop in the near future.
Report on focus for March
Focus for April
Start building store;
Complete budget and workplan for 2005/6;
Start staff appraisals;
Hold Board meeting on the 28th; and
Meet with Deloitte Consulting to work on tax exemption.