November has been remarkably dry, certainly the driest for several years.
The Chief Executive took 12 days off from the 12th, the first reasonable break since February.
Neither of our large Flircameras are working and we have been in touch with Eric Becker from WWF to see if they can be repaired. It would appear that WWF no longer have funding for the cameras and we might have to look at alternative support.
Graham Wallington from SafariLive donated 80 torches and 320 rechargeable batteries to the rangers. This will greatly assist them with their night patrols.
Liaram Molai had a son on the 5th, congratulations to him and his wife.
The County Public Service Board visited for three days to update their information on all our staff. Each member of the County staff had to fill in a form and provide certified, or original, copies of all their certificates.
Four African Wild Dog were seen near Mara West, along the escarpment on the 4th.
Three dead elephant were found between the 6thand 10th, the first a large bull, was found just across the border in Tanzania – near Maji ya Bett. The second, was found our side of the border on the 9th, it was a calf of around four years old and was found near the little salt-lick. The third, a young bull, was also found on our side of the border, between the salt-lick and the border. There were no visible injuries on any of them.
Three more elephant were found dead, two in the Lemai Wedge, and one near Kisumu Ndogo in the Triangle, on the 25th. KWS took lots of samples, as it was a fresh carcass. One of the two in the Serengeti had been speared, the meat and one tusk taken. We subsequently heard that three people had been arrested by the Tanzanians. The rangers also recovered ivory from two old carcasses, three to six months, along the river, downstream from Serena.
Three rhino died between the 12thand 19th. Sairowa, our dominant male rhino aged 37 years was reported dead on the 12th. This rhino regularly strayed outside the National Reserve and the carcass was found right on the boundary.
A second rhino, a female called Naiteru was found dead on the 16th, and her yearling calf found dead in the same area on then 19th. All three animals were in good condition and all the horns were recovered from the dead rhino. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinarians did a post-mortem examination on each carcass as they were discovered. There were no visible wounds, but there was significant decay of the internal organs. KWS sent down a team of experts from Nairobi on the 19thand again on the 28thand their preliminary findings ruled out poaching or foul play. The veterinarians suspect a Clostridial disease but have been unable to make a definitive diagnosis.
A female cheetah died on the 25th. She had been reported sick, and treated, several days before she died.
We still have reasonable numbers of wildebeest and zebra in the Triangle, fewer than expected, given the prevailing dry weather, but some have been returning in the last week.
The first part of November was busy but it tailed off in the last week. However, we can expect a busy December. Those visitors fortunate enough to visit the Triangle in November had an amazing game viewing experience in wonderful weather.
We still have a problem with clients letting their tickets lapse and overstaying in the Triangle. There were a few cases in November.
We arrested 28 poachers in November and recovered 737 wire, and 7 rope snares. We rescued 44 animals, found where 29 had been butchered and another two dead in snares.
A total of 59 snares were recovered on the 31st, all along the escarpment. Four wildebeest were rescued. That night the Iseiya rangers went out for a late patrol and managed to arrest four, of five, people at 7.00 pm near Kokamange in the Lemai Wedge. They had killed a wildebeest and were carrying the meat. The same night , at 1.00 am, the Nigro-are rangers managed to arrest one person high up on the escarpment between Nigro-are and Kinyangaga – he had five snares with him.
Four more people were arrested on the 1stwhen a large group of around 15 people were seen carrying wildebeest meat in an area called Maji ya Mama in the late evening. A total of 57 snares were recovered that day and one wildebeest rescued.
Eighty snares were recovered on the 2nd, all along the escarpment in the Lemai Wedge between Kinyangaga and Kokamange. The Nigro-are rangers set an ambush on the Masanga Poacher’s Route and managed to arrest one person. Two more people were arrested the following night, at 1.00 am – they had 16 snares with them.
Two snares were recovered near Miungu on the 4th, and then on the 5than informer told our Tanzanian counterparts that a hippo had been speared near the Lemai airstrip. We joined forces with them and set an ambush. Eleven people came in to butcher the hippo but unfortunately one of the TANAPA rangers sprung the ambush a little early. However, our rangers did manage to arrest two people. That same day the Nigro-are rangers recovered 136 snares along the escarpment. They rescued four wildebeest, but one had been butchered.
Eighty nine snares were recovered on the 8thand 9th, all along the escarpment. Nine wildebeest were rescued, as was one topi, two wildebeest were found dead. Thirty eight more snares were recovered on the 10th. Five wildebeest were rescued and seven had been butchered. Our rangers saw three people carrying meat but they managed to escape.
A total of 96 wire, and 5 rope, snares were recovered along the escarpment on the 12th. The Iseiya rangers managed to arrest one person,. From a group of six who had just butchered two wildebeest. A further four wildebeest were rescued. The following day a routine patrol recovered two tusks along the river, near Kuni Beach in the Triangle, from an elephant that had been dead for several months. That evening they came across one person, hunting alone, with five snares, near Lempise in the Lemai Wedge and arrested him.
The rangers set an all-night ambush on the 15thand managed to arrest one person at 8.00 am. He had four wire and two rope snares. That day the Nigro-are ranges had collected 14 wire snares, found where five animals had been butchered and managed to rescue one.
After the 16ththe rangers concentrated on looking for our rhino. However, they did manage to find 77 snares and rescue 12 wildebeest along the escarpment in the Lemai Wedge between the 16thand 18th.
Two people were arrested in separate incidents on the 19th. The Iseiya team had seen torched near Kogatende the previous night and patrolled between the Kogatende airstrip and Saiyari Camp. The poachers saw them early and five of the six managed to escape. One was arrested, he explained that they had been there for six days. They had 14 snares and had killed five wildebeest and three zebra, they would have left the following day. Two wildebeest were rescued. That same day the Nigro-are rangers managed to arrest one person, from a group of four, and recover 10 snares.
The rangers found a poachers’ camp near Binamu on the 23rd, the poachers had seen them and managed to escape, despite being tracked by our dogs. Five animals had been butchered and the meat was drying in camp. That same day the Ngiro-are rangers recovered 30 snares along the escarpment and found the poached elephant.
On the 25ththe Nigro-are team crossed the river to Binamu and managed to arrest three people in an ambush. They recovered two snares and found where one wildebeest had been killed. And then on the 26ththe Iseiya team rescued two wildebeest and found three poached zebra along the Mara River towards Lemai, they recovered three snares. That night they set an ambush near Tabora B with their Tanzanian counterparts and managed to arrest two people in separate incidents.
We continue to do much better than in previous years and October was no exception. Our revenue was Ksh 65,037,881 (US$ 650,000), a 55% increase on October last year – largely as a result of balloon revenue from Governors balloons – US$ 154,300. If we were to discount the balloon revenue we would have still been up by 18% on last year. Total visitor numbers dropped from a high of 29,765 in August to 10,912, but we are still plagued with non-paying visitors – they stood at 51% of our total visitors in October.
KAPS, our revenue collectors, removed three members of staff for possible fraud. We don’t believe that we lost any money and are grateful to the KAPS management in the Triangle for their vigilance and dealing with issues promptly.
Repairs and maintenance
We have virtually completed the new hangar – only the roof remains.
Work on the new stores is progressing well, the roof is now on and we should be able to have them ready for use in early January.
We continued to grade some of the roads and open drains and the roads are in very good condition.
We collected our new Land Cruiser and this has been deployed at Nigro-are.
We built a charcoal fridge to store perishables at Iseiya and it is working very well.
We collected the new trailer, after it had been strengthened, and it is working well.
We sold the Case tractor and trailer.
Report on focus for November
Focus for December 2018
· Complete stores;
· Complete hangar;
· Complete arrangements for management of the Main Reserve;
· Sell one Land Cruiser;
· Start installing new signs;
· Hold community meeting to discuss grazing; and
· Survey Reserve boundary.