There were some heavy rain storms and scattered showers over the whole Triangle from the 3rd until the end of the month. There were three days of exceptionally heavy and widespread rain from the 26th, this rain filled all the water courses and water holes.
Members of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) started fieldwork for a research programme on burning. We anticipated burning two blocks and monitoring wildlife movements, regeneration and the effect of fire, browsing and insects on young Balanites and Accacia trees. One researcher, Dr Jens Jung and four MSc students will be involved in the programme over a six month period.
The Kenya Wildlife Service sent a team to look at vegetation suitability for rhino, with a possible view to trans-locating more black rhino into the reserve.
We hosted a film crew from the BBC’s Really Wild Show on the 16th, they came to film “Cheetah 1”, our anti-harassment vehicle. We are also hosting another BBC film crew who have come to film the migration using their “Boulder cam”, cameras concealed to look like boulders and operated by remote control.
A third film crew from Kifaro productions spent a week filming in the Triangle from the 15th and then on the 28th Mr Bob Poole also came to spend four days filming.
B Heath was interviewed for the position of managing Koyaki and Lemek Group Ranches on the 17th .
The US Embassy held a half day workshop on security at Mara Serena on the 29th, this was attended by Wardens and NCOs, together with all lodge management and front office staff from the Triangle.
The Chief Executive met with the Chairman, M/s Kijabe and Korinko in Mr Philip Coulson’s office to chart a way forward for the Board. We have acceptance from all parties for the inclusion of Mr James Robertson and Mr Nigel Pavitt – Mr Pavitt is currently out of the country and will be formally approached on his return.
The Hon Gideon Konchellah and Cllr ole Kijabe visited the Mara Triangle on the 29th for a one day visit.
Dr Kashmiri treated one lion on the third near Sankuria, he also looked for an injured giraffe at Ol Kurruk but failed to locate it. The lion appeared to have been caught in a wire snare just behind the front right paw. There was a deep cut behind the paw and the lion had chewed off one toe.
There are currently at least 17 cheetah in the Triangle. Two have cubs, although the one that had one remaining cub in August appears to have lost it. One cheetah with four young cubs lost one of her cubs on the 14th.
One Buffalo was shot dead downstream from Little Governor’s Camp. It had been caught in two wire snares and was badly injured.
The heavy rain in the last few days of September may trigger off the migration back into the Serengeti, the wildebeest were massing along the river at the end of the month.
The season continues to be excellent, with virtually 100% occupancy in most lodges and camps within the Triangle continuing through September. The prognosis for October looks good with lodges reporting confirmed bookings of 80%.
The majority of children in through both gates were school children, we have seen a considerable increase in the number of children from local schools visiting the reserve in the past two years.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in September
Twenty four wa Kuria poachers were arrested during the month and 231 wire snares collected. This brings the total number of poachers arrested since June 2001 to 325. One giraffe, about 30 wildebeest, three Topi and four zebra were known to have been killed.
One Luo man was apprehended on the first – he appeared to be lost and acted dumb. We suspected possible poacher activity along the river and arranged to mount a patrol the following morning.
The community scouts reported poacher activity along the Mara River on the second. A patrol was mounted and they found a considerable cache of giraffe meat in a tree; no other sign of poaching or camp were found. An ambush was laid on the meat but no one returned and the meat was destroyed the following day. The Narok rangers were alerted and on the third they found where two giraffe had been butchered and a small camp. It was apparent that the poachers had camped in Narok, killed the giraffe and moved the meat into the Triangle while they sought assistance to transport it. Subsequent information indicated that there were three men and two women in the group; two of the men and one woman were reportedly arrested by the Narok rangers.
The Ngiro-are team came across a poacher’s camp on the third whilst on a joint patrol with our Tanzanian counterparts. The site was ambushed that night but no one returned.
Eighteen wire snares were recovered on the 6th in a routine joint patrol on the Tanzanian side of the border.
One man was arrested for poaching on the morning of the 7th. He had set 21 wire snares, one of which had killed a wildebeest; the animal had been butchered. One other animal had been caught was released unharmed. The man said that he had arranged to meet two accomplices but they never appeared.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested by our rangers on a routine patrol between the border and the Kokatende ranger post in Tanzania on the 15th. They were part of a larger group, seven escaped, that had killed at least two topi and one wildebeest. 11 wire snares were recovered. The Ngiro-are team recovered an additional ten snares on the same day.
We had our first success from the new ranger patrol base near the salt-lick on the 16th. The rangers discovered wire snares adjacent to the main cattle trail while on a routine foot patrol – in a thicket close to the salt-lick springs. They called for assistance from rangers at Serena and we arrested two wa Kuria poachers, from a group of four. They had arrived the previous morning and had killed three zebra and three wildebeest in their first night of snaring. Sufficient meat was retained as an exhibit and the rest was burnt. We recovered 22 wire snares, spears and bows and arrows.
On the same day our Ngiro-are anti-poaching team joined up with their counterparts from Tanzania and arrested 11 poachers downstream from Kokatende on the far side of the river. The combined team came across five different groups of poachers, probably numbering 20 people. They arrested all four in the first group, three in the second, none in the third, four in the fourth and none in the fifth. The poachers had killed approximately 20 wildebeest and a further ten were released from snares. We recovered 87 wire snares.
On the 22nd a further four poachers were arrested between the boundary and Mara River, in the same area as those arrested on the 15th. The group had just arrived in the area and had not set their snares; 16 wire snares were recovered.
On the 26th three poachers were arrested by the Ngiro-are team at Nyakita Pembe in Tanzania. They had killed one wildebeest and 10 wires snares were recovered.
On the 28th one poacher was recovered in the same area by a combined patrol from Tanzania, Ngiro-are and Serena. Two poachers had just arrived the previous night and had not yet set their snares. 10 snares were recovered.
On the 29th the Ngiro-are patrol came across 26 wire snares near the Ngiro-are swamp in Tanzania and released one wildebeest. One other wildebeest and one zebra were found dead in the snares. The people setting these snares set them at night and then go back up the escarpment to watch for any anti-poaching activity. Several attempts to ambush their routes down the escarpment at night have proved unsuccessful.
Mr Patrick Siparo left on the 5th. He is a great loss to the Conservancy and his departure will set back progress in the administration department. He has been replaced by Parsamoi Siampei and Nicholas Sarisar.
Mr Jaswinder Soin spent two days in the Mara, training our new staff on record keeping and simple accounting procedures.
He road team repaired the culvert and its approaches between Oloololo Gate and Kichwa Tembo in collaboration with staff from Kichwa. They also repaired a culvert near Mara Bridge that had been damaged by heavy lorries and constructed a new culvert near Sankuria – in a place that was constantly flooded.
The road team also started putting murram on the worst sections of the road between Oloololo and Sankuria but were hampered by rain.
The grader started work on the road between the Kichwa airstrip and Little Governor’s but we were forced to stop because of rain.
We established the ranger patrol base at Hammerkop near the salt-lick. A toilet was constructed and a spring protected in order to provide drinking water for the rangers.
We continued with repairs to buildings at Serena and Ngiro-are and painted all the roofs and outside walls at Ngiro-are.
Revenue and Accounts
August revenue beat all records for the Conservancy, reaching Ksh 16 million. The prognosis for September is for revenue collection to be similar to July.
Report on focus for September
Focus for October
- Complete Audit;
- Appoint new Directors;
- Start work on recreation/dining shelter and kitchen for staff at Ngiro-are;
- Do controlled burning as part of the ILRI research programme; weather permitting;
- Complete budget for work plan; and
- Plant indigenous trees around the houses at Oloololo;