October was on the whole very dry, with one or two isolated thunderstorms. The wildebeest numbers increased steadily for the first half of the month and then large herds started crossing back onto the Narok side of the Reserve and into Tanzania. There are still scattered concentrations between Mara Serena and Oloololo Gate, along the river towards Mara Bridge and along the Oloololo escarpment.
The BBC Big Cat Diary stopped filming in the Triangle on about the 18th, they had adequate footage and the film teams went to assist the lion team. The first of eight episodes was shown on the 20th in England, with a simultaneous showing at Governor’s Camp. Two cheetah females, each with three cubs, were seen most days during the month, one other cheetah has given birth and has four cubs, she has been seen most days in the last half of October.
The “ridge” pride from Paradise Plains near Musiara crossed over and based themselves near Mara Serena for a while. One male lion was found with a wire snare around its neck. Dr Kashmiri came up on the 28th and removed the snare, made from high tensile fencing wire – probably from the escarpment or along the Mara River towards Mara Safari Club.
There have been three cases of elephant killing cattle, twice on Oloololo Game Ranch and once below Mpata Club, in the last week of October. These cattle killings are causing some tension, with threats to kill elephant in retaliation. An elephant was seen with a broken leg on one occasion near Ngiro-are, it disappeared and has not been seen since. One other elephant was seen with an arrow in its head near Kichwa Tembo, the rangers looked for it but never saw it.
One hippo was shot dead in the Kichwa Tembo compound by the Wardens, it had apparently been harassing Kichwa staff.
One crocodile was reported to be killing livestock above Olonana, the Wardens visited the site and the crocodile was reported to the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers at Mpata Club for their action, there have been no recent reports of the crocodile killing animals.
A meeting was set for the 12th October between the Clerks of Trans Mara and Narok, M/s Naiguran and ole Kaiyoni, and the Chief Executive at Kichwa Tembo. The Clerk to Narok did not attend and the meeting was called off; M/s Naiguran and Heath had lunch and then left. The Chief Executive subsequently met with the Clerk to Narok at Musiara and another date was set for the 26th, this meeting did not take place.
The County Council of Trans Mara have nominated M/s John Naiguran and Douglas Sikawa to the planning committee, we are awaiting a third nomination.
The Chief Executive met with the Senior Warden, Narok and agreed to provide advice on road repairs. The Senior Warden did not attend the scheduled meeting at Keekorok Lodge on the 23rd.
We received two donations totalling US$ 2,040, we are very grateful to Mr and Mrs Makowski for their kind donation of US$ 2,000.
The Chief Executive met with Jorie Butler-Kent and Helen Gibbons of Friends of Conservation (FOC) at the opening of their environmental centre in Kilgoris. He also met with Dr Matt Walpole of DICE/WWF to discuss the possibility of collaboration on community development issues.
The Chief Executive met with Mr Nigel Shaw of Kaplan and Strattan to review the draft documents sent to the Board for legal correctness, we are awaiting a response in November..
Mr David Watson visited the Triangle to finalise a draft of the map; he spent a morning with Jonny Baxendale to locate potential camp sites. A draft may be ready ion November with a final version ready for distribution in early 2003.
Alison Jones and Leslie Roach visited the Conservancy for four days around the 10th together with James Robertson from Ker and Downey Safaris. They were joined by the Chairman of the Mara Conservancy, the Director of IFAW, Mr Michael Wamithi, and Mr Nigel Pavitt for part of their stay. A meeting was held in the IFAW offices with Ms Roach and Ms Jones, together with Mr Gavin Bennett of Church Orr, to discuss a public relations strategy for the Conservancy.
We have received a bill for Ksh 7.8 million from Ms Doreen Nasieku Pussy for preparing the management agreement between the Mara Conservancy and the County Council of Trans Mara. This amount is over and above the Ksh 262,800 already paid to Ms Pussy for work on the management agreement. The issue is with our lawyers and will be contested in court.
Forty one people sat the KPSGA Bronze level exam at Mara Serena on the 15 – 16th October, 13 passed. KPSGA will set another exam in the Mara on November 12th and possibly again in December.
Occupancy rates at the camps and lodges remained high for most of the month, tailing off after the long weekend on the 20th. We hope that revenue will be higher than budgeted for October, the prognosis for November is reasonable.
We held our quarterly lodge and camp manager’s meeting at Olonana on the 10th.
A total of five arrests were made during the month, with 44 wire snares recovered. This brings the number of arrests to 132. Snares recovered are now approximately 850.
On the 1st one person was arrested along the escarpment near Angata Baragoi.
On the 8th the Ngiro-are rangers joined forces with their Tanzanian counterparts and arrested one poacher in Tanzania. On the same day The Chief Executive and Mr Alan Root found a dead wildebeest in a snare on the Tanzanian side of the border from Mr Root’s helicopter.
On the 9th three wa Kuria poachers were arrested downstream from the Salt-lick. They had been in the Reserve for several; days and had killed a wildebeest. Mr Root used his helicopter in the operation.
On the 10th the Ngiro-are rangers recovered 32 wire snares in a joint patrol with their counterparts from Kinyangaga in Tanzania.
On the 13th a further 10 snares were recovered by the same teams in Tanzania.
On the 25th we discovered a two-week old poacher’s camp along the river between Mara Serena and Mara Bridge. The poachers had killed one Buffalo, one wildebeest and one young zebra, had dried the meat and left.
Mr P Siparo has been asked to stay on a further three months, in order to implement some of the administrative changes that have been worked on in the past three months.
Mr Jaswinder Soin has completed the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss accounts for last year, we may negotiate a contract for him to continue with the accounts for this current year.
The Chief Executive had no time off in October but will be taking three days off in early November.
M/s Siparo and Seur met with the Clerk to the County Council of Trans Mara to discuss issues of secondment. The management committee will sit to ratify and implement the Code of Conduct and Standing Orders for security staff in November.
Most of the supplies required to complete work at Mara Bridge have been sent down to the Mara and work is ongoing.
The road gang continued with road repairs between Mara Serena and Oloololo Gate. Unfortunately the trailer broke down towards the end of the month and the road gang was put onto digging murram.
We graded a firebreak along the Oloololo escarpment, this followed the alignment of a road constructed many years ago that was no longer used. We intend to grade a firebreak along the Tanzanian border, weather permitting, in November.
We constructed a new track along the river, below Mara Serena, it opens up a large area previously unused. In the first drive along this track both lion and leopard were seen.
Revenue and Accounts
The Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss account for the year 2001/2 have been completed and summaries sent to six selected Audit firms together with a package of information on the Mara Conservancy. We have asked the Audit firms to place a bid for this work by the 15th November and hope to have the Audit completed before the end of this year.
A copy of this draft Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss account will be sent to all Directors with this report.
Report on focus for October
Focus for November
- Appoint Auditors and start Audit
- Ratify Code of Conduct and Standing Orders for security staff
- Complete firebreak along Tanzanian Border, weather permitting
- Hold Annual General Meeting, scheduled for 18th November
- Hold second KPSGA exam in the Mara
- Continue follow-up on Narok Tickets
- Complete work at Mara Bridge
- Complete work on staff housing at Kichwa Tembo camp