There were several scattered storms in early November. We then had two weeks of comparatively dry weather before some heavy and widespread rain in the last week.
The ILRI research team left on the 25th for six weeks, they will continue with their project in January. We have decided not to take any samples from buffalo at present, to do so will require research permission from KWS and will entail considerable costs that can not be borne by the researchers.
The Chief Executive met with Mr Nigel Pavitt and Mr James Robertson twice during the month, they have both agreed to join the Board and a meeting is now scheduled for the 17th December.
The Chief Executive also met with representatives of Koyaki and Lemek group ranches to discuss possible collaboration. We have been asked to assist in renovating the road between Ngore Ngore and Mara Rianta and a further meeting will be held on the 6th December in the Mara.
The Chief Executive met with Mr Kenichi Yamaguchi, Managing Director of Mpata Investments to work on a joint proposal for some road equipment. An application has been sent to potential donors for equipment worth US$ 20,000. We are also working on another proposal to the Keideran Nature Conservation Fund for additional equipment.
The Senior Warden attended the World Travel Market in London together with the Senior Warden, Narok from the 5th until the 12th. This visit was primarily to determine whether the Conservancy should have a stand in future, and if so, what would be required. He reported that there was a lot of interest in the Conservancy and was surprised by the number of people who knew the difference between the Narok and Trans Mara sides of the Masai Mara.
A young female elephant was reported with a large abscess on her abdomen on the 6th; she had a very young – less than two week old calf – that was extremely weak. Dr Kashmiri flew up the following day and darted the mother, the abscess was cleaned but it was felt that the calf would not survive and it was flown to Daphne Sheldrick the same morning. The mother has subsequently been seen – she is still very thin but the abscess has subsided. The calf died on the 29th.
On the 10th one giraffe was reported dead near the Kichwa Tembo airstrip, it had been killed by a poisoned arrow. On the same day one elephant calf was found dead in a wire snare near the Ngiro-are swamp in Tanzania.
On the 13th one young elephant was found dead on Oloololo Game ranch, our rangers collected the ivory, weighing a total of 0.5 kg. one the same day one buffalo was found dead on the river road between Serena and Oloololo Gate.
One lioness gave birth to two cubs on the main road to Oloololo, it was very close to the road and the mother was being harassed by tourist vehicles. The area immediately surrounding the lioness was closed off for two weeks to allow her some space.
Most of the wildebeest had moved South into Tanzania by the end of November, there were some herds scattered throughout the Reserve numbering in the thousands, rather than tens of thousands. One large crossing above Mara Bridge on the 11th resulted in hundreds of wildebeest deaths – the first such incident this year. There were still some fairly large herds of zebra and it is hoped that some of them may remain.
There are several large herds of eland in the Triangle at present, one of 150 has at least 50 small calves.
The Triangle continues to attract proportionately more visitors than the Group Ranches or Narok and the occupancy rates for November will probably exceed 65%. This is excellent, given that November is traditionally one of the quieter, low season months. Bookings seem to be looking good for next year and we can expect another bumper year from June 2005.
Day visitors from Narok have dropped off considerably but the total number of visitors who come in, but do not pay the Conservancy, is almost equivalent to the total beds in the Triangle.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in October
A total of 10 wa Kuria poachers were arrested by our patrols. There were two known incidents of poaching in the Triangle, both within less than one kilometre of the border. One person was also arrested for illegal grazing and prosecuted in Kilgoris. We have arrested 350 poachers to date. We collected 199 wire snares during the month.
On the 10th a patrol from Ngiro-are recovered 50 wire snares around the Ngiro-are swamp in Tanzania. One of these snares had killed the young elephant. On the 11th the same team recovered another 11 snares in the same area.
The elderly poacher who had been arrested at the beginning of October was re-arrested on the 13th in the same area (Daraja Mbili) by the Ngiro-are team when on a joint patrol with the Tanzanians. He had been released by the magistrate in Kilgoris. On this occasion he was accompanied by another elderly man. They had had arrived that morning with 13 wire snares and had not killed anything. Both were handed over to the Tanzanian authorities in the hope that they would be given stiffer sentences.
The same evening a further four poachers were arrested by the Ngiro-are team on Nyakita Pembe, in Tanzania. 22 wire snares were recovered.
On the 15th a Serena patrol came across a poacher’s camp along the Mara River downstream from Kokatende in Tanzania. The poachers escaped across the river but five wire snares were recovered.
On the 16th one of our patrols from Ngiro-are recovered 13 snares near the Ngiro-are swamp in Tanzania. One wildebeest was released from a snare.
On the 17th a patrol from Ngiro-are arrested one poacher along the Mara River near Nyakita Pembe in the Lemai Wedge. One other poacher escaped across the river. We recovered 13 wire snares, one zebra was found dead in one of the snares.
On the 19th the Ngiro-are patrol recovered 15 snares in the morning and a further 12 the same evening on the Tanzanian side of the border.
On the 23rd a patrol from Serena saw two people across the Mara River, downstream from Kokatende. They crossed the river and recovered two snares and personal belongings, but the poachers escaped.
On the 24th a routine patrol along the border came across five wire snares, one wildebeest had been caught and butchered. That night an ambush yielded nothing. The following morning both the Serena and Ngiro-are teams left very early and found a further 10 wire snares on Ol Donyo Olpaek – 500 metres on the Kenyan side of the Border. One zebra had been killed and butchered and half the meat hidden in trees. The patrol continued and we were joined by the Tanzanians from Kinyangaga; two wa Kuria poachers were arrested and 5 snares recovered. Both poachers had been arrested before, bringing the number of re-arrests to 3 for the month and to six in total. That evening an ambush was laid where the meat had been hidden, one man was arrested at 11.00 pm, the second escaped.
On the night of the 26th there was an attack on a bar in a manyatta near Olonana. Five people were injured; one with a slight gunshot wound and one badly hacked with a machete. The others were only slightly injured. We assisted by carrying the injured to hospital in Kilgoris and our rangers were joined by the police to look for the bandits – no one was apprehended but there were some clues for the police to follow-up on.
On the 30th the Ngiro-are team recovered 30 wire snares near Konyoki, on the Tanzanian side of the border.
Sgt Joseph Lemein Korinko will retire at the end of the year, after 30 years with the Council. He will be starting his terminal leave in December.
The tractor hitch broke, slightly injuring two people. They have been treated and have resumed work.
The casuals employed on a three month contract have been laid off and have been asked to resume in February.
Mantrac completed the service on the grader but roadwork has been stopped for the time being. The Council grader has been repaired, after being idle for sis years – this machine will be returned to Kilgoris.
The masonary work on the mess and kitchen at Ngiro-are is complete and we will start work on the roofing in early December.
We contracted some people to make ballast at Ngiro-are and now have about 20 tons for use in further development projects.
The tractor hitch was repaired and work continued on cleaning culverts and general road maintenance.
Revenue and Accounts
Revenue continues to be significantly higher than for the corresponding period in previous years.
Report on focus for November
Focus for December
- Hold Board meeting on the 17th;
- Approve 2002/3 accounts and review 2003/4 accounts;
- Set date for Annual General Meeting
- Complete construction of the mess and kitchen at Ngiro-are;
- Repair wash away on the Serena – Mara Bridge road;
- Complete proposal to Keidaren Nature Conservation Fund and send;
- Circulate annual work plan and budget to Directors;
- Send County Council grader to Kilgoris; and
- Review road contract with Koyaki/Lemek