November was for the most part dry and sunny, with the rains only starting in earnest on the 26th.
The Chief Executive met Ms Barbara Gatumuta – Regional Manager KAPS on the 2nd and discussed a number of issues that we still have with revenue collection.
The Governor, Narok County, stayed at Mara Serena on the night of the 5th and met with different community committees to discuss the distribution of Group Ranch funds, the sub-division of Olorien Group Ranch and survey of the Reserve boundary. A follow-up meeting between the Olorien committee and Chief Executive was arranged for the 13th but cancelled by the committee at the last minute.
Mr Chris Dutton has been working with MaMaSe and six Dutch students from TU Delft for the past few months, installing low cost microcontrollers at 27 different sites in the Mara ecosystem – eleven of these sites log water levels and the other 16 sites are rainfall stations. Information from these sites are sent to a base station via SMS and then downloaded on a public website: https://www.thingsspeak.com/channels/public? tag=MaMaSe
Six members of staff were given First Aid training in a course that was organised by Seiya Ltd for staff on the Conservancies.
The Chief Executive took eight days off, returning to work on the 25th.
One young lion was killed by other lions on the 10th and another one was badly injured near Purungat. Dr Limo treated this lioness and she appears to be recovering well. Two more lionesses were injured in fighting near Baghdad.
The leopard along Isabella’s Lugga (Maji Machafu) has started coming out with her two cubs – they are now about four months old. There are two lionesses with four cubs along the same watercourse and a cheetah with four cubs spent time in the same area – with luck one could see all of them in the space of an hour.
A dead elephant was found near the Cul-de-Sac crossing on the 24th. There were no visible signs of injury, but hyenas had extensively fed off the carcass by the time it was found. One other elephant was found poached in the Lemai Wedge on the 23rd – the tusks had been taken.
Large herds of zebra crossed back into the Triangle. Some stayed but a number crossed into Tanzania. A number of zebra were carrying snares – this happens every time the zebra return from the Northern Serengeti.
There is no end in sight to the major drop in tourism being experienced in Kenya. If there are no other major disasters we might see an improvement from June next year. However, we cannot expect any significant improvement before 2016.
For those people fortunate enough to visit the Mara Triangle in October/November, they were treated to the Mara at it’s very best; wonderful weather, unparalleled game viewing and the Triangle all to themselves. There were some amazing crossings at the main Serena crossing and not a single tourist vehicle.
Twenty-seven poachers were arrested in November and 61 snares recovered. Since our inception we have arrested 2,504 poachers and collected a minimum of 32,734 wire snares, many more have been collected but gone unreported. How does this translate into animals saved? Probably, tens of thousands over the years. We continue to catch a few groups in the Triangle – as we did this month. However, the bulk of our work continues to be in the Lemai Wedge and Northern Serengeti. The impact of our work in this area cannot be overestimated – it is only a few years ago that lion, leopard and buffalo were unheard of in the Lemai and there were certainly no camps in the Kokatende/Lemai area of the Serengeti. This year there were 26 camps – six of them are now permanent. We strongly commend our security staff for the work they have done: for their commitment and professionalism.
A combined ranger team arrested one person on the afternoon of the 31st near Jiko Nane in the Lemai Wedge – his four accomplices swam across the river and escaped. The following day the Iseiya team were joined by three TANAPA rangers and managed to arrest a total of seven people in an area we call Mama Kent; between Wagakuria and the Namailumbwa Hills in the northern Serengeti. In the first instance, three people were arrested with 15 wire snares, zebra meat and skins. The second group of four were all arrested and had killed 16 warthog – they were in the process of butchering some of them. Another five were in a heap, ready to be skinned and butchered.
The Ngiro-are rangers set an ambush on the 2nd and arrested three people with spears near Nyakita Pembe. The following day our Oloololo/Ol Kurruk and Anne Kent-Taylor rangers arrested another three people with reedbuck meat and took them to Lolgorien.
Our rangers returned to “Mama Kent” on the 4th and arrested one person where we had patrolled three days earlier. He had a bow and poisoned arrows, eight snares and a fishing line set with 42 hooks.
The Iseiya rangers arrested three more people during a late patrol along the escarpment in the Lemai Wedge on the 5th. They were on their way to hunt with dogs, spears and wire snares – 12 snares were recovered.
The Ngiro-are rangers arrested three poachers, four escaped, on the Masanga route during a late patrol. The poachers were armed with bows and 30 arrows. They were probably on their way to hunt warthog. The following day both teams went to “Mama Kent” and arrested two more people with zebra and warthog meat. They had hoes – for digging warthog out of their holes - and spears for killing them.
The school run by Compassion near Ngos Nanyuki, on the escarpment was robbed on the 11th and seven computers stolen. This is the second robbery in two months – how disappointing and upsetting for a small NGO trying to help the community. Two members were arrested as suspects and taken to Lolgorien.
Our rangers joined forces to patrol along the river upstream from Dirisha in the Triangle on the 13th. They came across a poachers’ camp and managed to arrest two people; Tanzanian wa Kuria who had killed a hippo. Three people managed to escape and two wire snares were recovered. The patrol was extended to the Narok side of the Reserve but there were no recent signs of poaching.
The Ngiro-are rangers recovered 24 snares on the 17th around Limana and the following night set an ambush near Kasarani, in the Lemai Wedge and managed to arrest two people as they came in to hunt Thompson’s gazelle, eleven escaped.
Revenue and Accounts
October revenue was down again on the same period last year – by 21%. Last October collections totalled Ksh 35,435,383 and this year they went down to Ksh 27,959,245. Our share of revenue was Ksh 12,507,228 – against budgeted expenditure of Ksh 18,513,000. Our two largest cost items are salaries and commission to KAPS. These two items alone total over Ksh 10,000,000 – leaving us virtually nothing for all our other costs: vehicles, machinery, allowances, insurance, administration etc… November is normally a very slow month and this November has been no exception – just compounded by the disastrous drop in tourism throughout Kenya.
We graded main road between Mara Serena and Purungat. We then cut drains to stop the excessive flow of water onto some of our roads.
One of our drivers managed to destroy the transfer case, front axle and differential on a Land Rover during one of the patrols.
We resurfaced sections of the main roads between Purungat and Oloololo and also repaired a culvert that had collapsed. We also resurfaced extensive sections of the lower road between Mara Serena and Purungat.
We have just poured the ring beam on the classroom at Partikilat and are now awaiting timber from the community to complete the trusses.
Report on focus for November
Focus for December 2014
· Hold Board meeting on 5th December;
· Negotiate with Narok County Government on budget mitigation options;
· Patch damaged road sections;
· Complete classroom at Partikalat; and
· Survey Reserve boundary.