Very heavy rain on the 3rd, causing extensive flooding – at least one camp on Mara North was severely damaged, with tents and vehicles washed away. The rains persisted for the remainder of the month, making many areas waterlogged and virtually impassable, necessitating the closure of a number of tracks. The rains also cut off the main road to the Mara between Mai Mahiu and Narok for two days.
The recent reconciliation between the President and leader of the opposition should eliminate much of the anxiety that has slowed down the economy over the past year. This will no doubt have an impact on tourism and we can expect a good year for tourism.
The County Government has stopped camping in the main Reserve. A quick analysis showed that individual “beneficiaries” collected nearly all the booking and camping fees, leaving virtually nothing to the County.
Hytera sent someone from China to set up our tracking system for vehicles and portable radios. The system seems to be working well, but only as long as the radios are on the repeater channel.
Warden Lema Langas went to the United States at the invitation of WWF to talk at a conference on our use of the Flir, he then visited the Canine Training Academy – thanks to Linda Porter and John Lutenberg, before visiting the Flir offices and factory.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) have instituted a new biometric system for all their members and they visited on 7th & 8th to update everyone’s data.
William Puya, ranger/driver at Purungat request a transfer to Narok. This was accepted.
Two cheetah cubs were delivered on the 2nd. They had been abandoned and were followed for three days before the management of the main Reserve decided to rescue them.
The hyena researchers removed a snare from one of their animals on the 13th, the snare was just in front of its hind legs.
One large female elephant died along the river near Maji ya Ndege, the tusks were recovered. She was found on the 24th, at least two weeks after she had died.
The very heavy rains did a lot of damage to our roads and the burnt area near Ngiro-are was trashed by numerous vehicles looking for lion and cheetah and criss-crossing the area off-road. The situation became so bad that we were forced to close the area in order to stop further destruction.
Tourist numbers are way down and we expect the trend to continue through to June.
Only seven people were arrested for poaching this month, the lowest number for some time. Fifteen wire snares were recovered and at least four hippo were killed – all near the community area next to Lemai.
The rangers found seven wire snares on the 5th, they had been set some time before and obviously forgotten.
One poacher, hunting alone, was arrested on the 13th night by the Iseiya team. He was caught near Olaro Nyioke in the Lemai Wedge hunting with a dog and machete.
The Ngiro-are rangers collected two snares on the 16th and then the following day our Iseiya rangers caught one person near the Kigonga Poachers’ route – he was hunting with a dog and probably on his way to check snares. The dog bit one of our rangers on the ankle and we had him treated for rabies. That night, the 17th, our Tanzanian counterparts called Ngiro-are at 10.00 pm, saying that poachers were hunting hippo near the Lemai rangers’ post. By the time our rangers arrived, three hippo had been killed by about 20 people. The rangers managed to arrest four people, one of them a woman who had given birth five days earlier, and recover three spears by 4.00 am - the rest escaped into the villages.
One person was arrested with a single wire snare on the 18th near Kasarani, he came in during the rain, in the hope that the rangers were not operating. Five additional snares were recovered during the same patrol.
Revenue and Accounts
We had a slight increase in the number of non-resident visitors this February, compared with the corresponding month last year (3,649 vs 3,157) but we are now heading for the three most difficult months of the year March – May, when expenditure exceeds income by quite a substantial amount. This is the period when we hope that reserves we have built up through the year will be adequate.
Our Management Accounts for the first eight months of our financial year show an 11% increase in income over budget and an 8% increase in expenditure – most of this attributed to the increased cost of accommodating 30 extra rangers.
Table 2. Income and expenditure for the period ending February 2018.
Repairs and maintenance
We graded and rolled the Serena airstrip.
We graded some of the roads around Oloololo Gate and down to Little Governors.
We continued to open culverts and repair damaged sections of the road as best we could and agreed that the balloon companies not send recovery vehicles to collect the balloons until we agreed that it is sufficiently dry.
The drift by the Kichwa airstrip was badly damaged and we had to repair it – we had problems with drivers trying to cross the drift before the cement had dried.
The bridge at Sankuria was also damaged and we had to install gabions to stop further damage.
We painted all the housing at Oloololo and then went on to make repairs at Purungat, much of the guttering required replacing and a door had blown off the toilet in camp.
We completed work at Kilo 2 and only one window remains to be installed at the gate house.
Report on focus for March
Focus for April 2018
· Install window at Kilo 2;
· Work on roads to Ngiro-are;
· Start on roof at Ngiro-are;
· Complete work at Purungat;
· Sell three dogs;
· Continue on possible Management Agreement for Narok; and
· Survey Reserve boundary.