A number of rain storms throughout September appear to have further disrupted the migration, there were large concentrations of wildebeest along the Tanzanian border, but the never moved North of Ol Are (the salt springs).
The 11th September attacks in the US have had a significant impact on tourism and bookings at all the camps and lodges have recorded cancellations. It is difficult to assess the short and medium-term impact but we can expect revenue in October to November to drop by over 50%, part of this can be attributed to normal low-season occupancy but most of the lodges are recording over 30% cancellations. There is no doubt that we will experience a cash flow problem in November and possibly December, until the season picks up again.
We have still received no revenue from balloon royalties and it is planned the Chief Executive and Earthview will visit the balloon operators in the second week of October.
A meeting was held between the Chief Executive and the Clark and Treasurer from Trans Mara County Council – a number of issues were discussed and the minutes are attached to this report.
Peter Behr visited the Mara for two days and will assist in the tourism sector for two months, starting mid October. Mr Nicholas Matiko also visited, with a view to working with the Conservancy in the Community Development sector, unfortunately he has turned down the position and we have to start looking for another suitable candidate.
Dr Chris Thouless spent two days in the Mara and we managed to allocate responsibilities and completion dates to most of the action plan appended to the Operational Manual together with Peter Behr and Mr ole Kijabe.
The Nairobi office
The Nairobi office is now on e-mail, the address is:
This can be used for any e-mail messages with attachments.
Faxes can be sent to the direct line (02) 749 636. We are also connected to the Triad switchboard and calls can be made to: (02) 749 651/2/4/5.
We should have an HF radio installed in the office by the middle of October.
140 snares were recovered during the month, mainly along the border with Tanzania, at least five dead wildebeest a zebra were found in snares and four wildebeest were released. In all cases the snares had been set for two or three days before they were found and appear to have been abandoned – probably the poachers had seen patrols and left without recovering their snares. Four joint anti-poaching operations were held with Tanzanian rangers from Serengeti and in one the Tanzanians arrested two people with meat.
Two dead lions were found, both speared by Maasai morans. We have been informed that eleven lions have been speared by the Maasai from four moran manyattas along the escarpment. Initial reports were that eight had been speared on the Narok side, near Lemek and that three had been speared in the Triangle. However, there are reports that eight have been speared in TransMara. Councillors Tiampati and ole Kijabe, the DC, the DO and Chiefs have been informed and we hope to use the administration and the elders in charge of the manyattas to stop the spearing.
One group of stolen cattle were followed to Lemai in Tanzania before the tracks were lost.
We have used GSU staff in many of our patrols to make up for a shortfall in our own ranger compliment. We are honouring an agreement between the County Councils and GSU to pay allowances for personnel based in the Reserve. Constables and Corporals are paid Ksh 4,500 per month; Sergeants and Inspectors are paid Ksh 5,250. The monthly bill amounts to Ksh 114,000.
The senior staff held a management meeting on 26th September at which the terms of service for all wardens were laid out.
We have requested 6 rangers from the Council, to replace those who have been transferred, absconded or died. This will help make up our shortfall.
The grader operator’s brother died and so we lost a week’s work. However, the road to Mara Bridge should be completely re-shaped and graded by the end of the first week in October. We will then grade an old road from Mara Bridge to Serena before embarking on the road to Oloololo.
The District Engineer, Migori, has prepared a quotation for re-shaping and re-surfacing the road from Oloololo to Serena. The quote was for Ksh 24 million, of which Ksh 14 million was for re-surfacing. This quote is unmanageable unless we find donor funding, in which case it would be better to purchase our own equipment.
We now have e-mail in the Mara:
Bushmail does not accept messages longer than 15,000 bytes, nor does it accept attachments. Long messages can either be broken down into two, or sent to the Nairobi office.
We have applied foe a phone line in the Mara and are awaiting a visit by Telkkom.
All the houses at Oloololo gate have been repainted, the plumbing has also been re-done in the houses and public toilets.
The ceilings at Serena have been replaced and the houses made bat-proof, the plumbing has been re-done and we still need to do the electricity.
The fundis will move to Ngiro-are in October and start re-habilitating the buildings there.