We had a few days of rain from the 2nd, it was then dry for most of March, with two days of rain at the very end. We managed to partly burn one block along the escarpment just before the rain at the end of the month.
The Chief Executive met with a team from the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) and Vulcan, headed by their Principal Business Development Manager Ted Schmitt, on the 5th. Vulcan are working with MEP on an integrated information and monitoring system for patrols and wildlife called Earth Ranger. We would like to link into the system, our current tracking system leaves a lot to be desired, and a first step will be to purchase In Reach GPS systems that download tracks and points of interest onto satellite. A real weakness in our current system is that it relies on phone or our radio coverage.
Instructors from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Training School at Manyani paid a visit on the 8th to see how the last trainees were doing. On the same day all the firearms were inspected by the Police Operations Commander in the Mara for their annual renewal.
The Chairman visited the Triangle on a private visit from the 12th to 15th and the Chief Executive took a week off from the 16th.
E Molai and D Aruasa attended a training course for SMART and then D Aruasa attended a course on investments for the pension scheme.
Three of our staff attended a short course on leadership provided by WWF and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Stratton Hatfield placed a collar on a young martial eagle.
In February we though that the Mara River could not get lower, it did and by the end of March it had virtually stopped flowing. We had a large number of fish die opposite the Kichwa airstrip. This seemed different from the other die-offs that we have witnessed in that it did not seem to be associated with a surge of water.
A hyena from the North clan was seen with a wire snare around its neck on the 5th, this is the second hyena from the same clan in a month.
The rangers found an old elephant carcass near Watu Kumi in the Lemai Wedge on the 10th, the tusks were recovered and handed over to TANAPA.
Three lion cubs were killed near Oloololo, it would appear that they were attacked by a group of lions that came across from Musiara.
Fifteen poachers were arrested during the month, three of them in the Triangle. At least six hippo are known to have been killed, as was one bushbuck and a zebra.
The Nigro-are rangers arrested one person after an all-night ambush on the 3rd, he was alone at 6.00 am near Lempise and said that he was cutting grass.
One person was arrested on the 11th at Serengeti Ndogo, he was part of a group of eight people who had killed a bushbuck.
There were several reports of hippo being speared and butchered near Lemai, four had been killed by the 11th, three of them just outside the Serengeti. A fifth hippo was killed and butchered in the Lemai Wedge – downstream from the Nigro-are swamp.
The Nigro-are team arrested seven people on the 15th, three during the day as they entered the Lemai Wedge along the escarpment, and another four when they joined TANAPA rangers and recruits on an ambush that night. The four were part of a group of six who were on their way to hunt and were coming down the Masanga poachers’ route.
Three days later the Nigro-are rangers caught one more person on the Kigonga route in daylight.
The Ol Kurruk rangers reported a zebra that had been speared on the escarpment, they set an ambush bit no one came.
One more person was arrested whilst hunting gazelle with torches on the night of the 24th, three people escaped.
A routine patrol on the 27th, by the Oloololo/Little Governors teams, along the river came across a freshly butchered hippo just downstream from what used to be River Camp. The rangers called for back-up but they were heard and the poachers escaped across the river. That afternoon four people walked into a team ambushing the poachers’ camp, they all escaped. That night our teams set up an ambush and watched three people approach in the Flir camera. They managed to arrest all three and were told that there were two others – the rangers never saw the others. They had killed the hippo two days previously, had butchered it and were waiting for the meat to dry before carrying it out. One of the three poachers had been arrested twice before, once inside the Triangle, along the river. Her had also been arrested for cattle theft.
One person was arrested along the escarpment on the 30th by the Nigro-are rangers, he said that he was cutting grass and was armed with a machete.
Revenue and Accounts
February revenue was slightly down on January but well above February 2018. It would appear that that Dusit 2 attacks in Nairobi had little, or no, impact on Mara visitors, though it has impacted tourism at the coast. We are now into low season and will expect expenditure to exceed revenue for the coming three months, fortunately we have built up adequate reserves.
We had one incident in which a revenue clerk tried to utilize an unused voucher on a ticket and pocket the cash paid by another operator. It would appear that the supervisor at Oloololo was in on the deal and the issue is being dealt with by KAPS.
Repairs and maintenance
We removed the thatch from the KAPS office at Purungat and hopefully bat-proofed the office. We also painted the office.
We received three new Suzuki Maruti jeeps.
We have installed a new, 5,000 litre petrol tank and pump at the office – it took over two weeks to dig the hole through solid rock. This now means that we don’t have to rely on other sources of fuel for our Suzukis.
The grader transmission was overhauled and installed. It was then checked and passed by the agents. We have done a little work with it to check it. A number of hose and hydraulic pipes are leaking and they will be replaced in readiness for the next season starting June.
We purchased and installed new, adjustable, shelving for the store. We are trying to make sure that all the items are properly itemised and recorded.
We constructed a new room at the Kilo 2 ranger post and replaced the wooden benches with concrete ones.
We completed the Administrator’s house and it should be habitable in early April. We strengthened the walls, put on a new roof and ceiling and tiled the bathroom, kitchen and floors.
We resurfaced large sections of the road from Nigro-are.
Internet Solutions (IS) installed a new wifi system for us in the Mara to replace the Safaricom system that we have been using. It is free of charge, compensation for a Seiya mast that they are using near Talek.
Kijito sent down their technician to service and repair two windmills, all the worn out parts have now been replaced.
Report on focus for March
Focus for April 2019
· Attend Serengeti/Mara meeting from the 26-28th ;
· Sell Suzukis;
· Work with Angama on toilet facilities at Hippo Pools;
· Build visitor toilet at Kilo 2;
· Plan on dam at Kerengani;
· Move stores and ensure all their records are correct;
· Develop Annual Work Plan and budget; and
· Survey Reserve boundary.