The first part of June was very cold, wet and overcast – with some of the heaviest and most sustained rain this year.
There were evening thunderstorms for the first few days at the beginning of the month, especially along the escarpment and between Mara Serena and Oloololo Gate. The unusually hot and dry weather towards the end of May and early June triggered an early onset of the migration, with large herds of zebra crossing into the Triangle from the 11th.
The Chief Executive met with Mr George Orr on the 2nd to discuss the Audit report on Earthview, a further meeting was held with him and the auditors for the 6th before the final report was produced.
The Chief Executive and Mr S Tunai met with Mr J Greene of Ridgeback on the 8th. Ridgeback is a security company that is offering to provide training and equipment to our staff.
The Chief Executive and Mr George Orr spent time with Taws Limited on the design for new park tickets that will become effective on July 1st. The new tickets have a number of security features that will make them difficult to forge and were delivered on the 28th June.
We ordered one new tractor, with a shovel and trailer and two new Land Rovers from the CMC Motor Group. The new Land Rovers should be ready for delivery in early July and the tractor by the end of July.
The tender committee sat through two presentations by potential consultants for the 10 year management plan on the 16th. Both consultants were very experienced in the production of management plans for protected areas but in the end the committee decided on CDC.
Dr Stephanie Dloniak, a wildlife researcher set up camp near Mara Serena on the 14th, she will be working in the Triangle for at least the next year.
Four Swedish students under the supervision of Dr Jens Jung started work on the 21st June, they will be here for two months.
There have been three vehicle accidents in the Triangle in the past month; two vehicles overturned on the road to Oloololo gate and one vehicle rolled 15 feet down the river bank.
The zebra started crossing into the Mara Triangle from the Narok side of the river on the 11th, a good month earlier than usual. The wildebeest also came in much earlier than usual, with the first few animals observed on the 14th – by the end of the month there were a few scattered groups of wildebeest in the Triangle and a greater concentration on the Tanzanian side of the border.
One cheetah, with five cubs, has been seen regularly near the Kichwa Tembo airstrip.
Two lionesses had cubs on the main Serena/Oloololo road, the cubs were seen for the first time on the 9th.
The Chief Executive spent one week in Madagascar, where he presented a short paper on Community benefits and their link to Biodiversity Conservation to Conservation International’s Global Symposium.
The Warden Operations, Mr E Nkoitoi started his annual leave on the 10th and is due back on the 20th July 2006.
We are awaiting the new salary scales from the Council, so that we can implement in July.
The camps and lodges all filled up around the middle of June and will remain full through September.
We sent a copy of the park rules to KATO at the beginning of the month for circulation to all their members. We are also printing key rules on the back of each of the new tickets, so that no one can profess ignorance.
Table 1 shows day visitors into and out of the Mara Triangle from other parts of the Mara in June
A total of 33 poachers were arrested during June, one of them in the Triangle and two along the escarpment. The remaining 30 were all arrested in the Serengeti. This brings the total arrests in five years to 601. 243 wire snares were recovered during the month.
On the night of the 3rd a routine ambush three wa Kuria poachers were seen hunting at 2.20 am well into the Lemai Wedge, unfortunately they escaped. They had killed one impala with dogs.
One Kuria poacher was arrested by the Ngiro-are team in the Lemai Wedge on the 9th, he was one of two people found fishing along the Mara River.
One hippo was found with a spear in it near Mara Serena on the 9th, the same hippo died that night. A second hippo was found butchered between Mara Serena and the river the following day. For three days we searched both sides of the Mara River and found considerable signs of poaching on the Narok side of the river. There were no indications of poachers camping along the Triangle side of the river and it was not until we looked further inland that we found their camp about five kilometres from the river, in a thicket near Benjamin’s lugga. We did locate the hippo poachers’ camp but they had left the night before. However, we did arrest one, of three, wa Kuria poachers on the 14th. They had arrived the previous night and had killed one warthog on their way in; they had two wire snares.
The Ngiro-are team, together with their Tanzanian counterparts, arrested three wa Kuria poachers on the 10th near Kokatende, on the far side of the Mara River. They were part of group of five who had not yet started hunting; 78 wire snares were recovered.
Two wa Kuria poachers was arrested by the Ngiro-are team, in collaboration with their Tanzanian counterparts, on the 14th. They were fishing along the Mara River below Kokatende when arrested.
One wa Kuria poacher was arrested by the Ngiro-are team, in conjunction with their Kokatende counterparts, near Kokatende. The poachers had killed one wildebeest; 20 wire snares were recovered.
Two Kisii poachers were arrested by the Serena team on the night of the 16th at around 11.00 pm. The poachers had killed a female eland near Kawai, outside the Reserve, by setting sharpened stakes around a maize field. The eland had jumped through an opening in the fence surrounding the field and had impaled herself through the stomach -it then went approximately three kilometres before dying. The poachers were observed butchering the animals by one of our community scouts and followed to their homestead, where they were arrested.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested by a joint Ngiro-are and Kokatende team on the 17th near the Namailumbwa hills. They were part of a group of six that were setting snares in anticipation of the migration. 50 wire snares were recovered.
Two wa Kuria poachers were arrested around an area we know as Watu Kumi in the Lemai Wedge on the 21st by the Ngiro-are team. The poachers had killed one wildebeest, 19 wire snares were recovered.
On the night of the 22nd the Serena team arrested five wa Kuria poachers around Watu Kumi. They were hunting Thompson’s gazelle with dogs and torches and had killed a number of gazelles by the time they were apprehended.
One poacher, from a group of eight, was again arrested on the 23rd at Watu Kumi by the Serena team. 25 wire snares were recovered. On the same day the Ngiro-are team, together with rangers from Kinyangaga, arrested three poachers at Kasarani in the Lemai Wedge. 12 wire snares were recovered.
One poacher was arrested by the Ngiro-are team, together with their counterparts from Kinyangaga, on the 25th with a machete, he was hunting near Kokatende on the other side of the Mara River. On the same day the Serena team arrested 5 wa Kuria poachers along the Mara River, downstream from Mara Bridge. The Serena team found two different poachers camps and arrested two people from the first group – this group had stayed in the area for a week and had killed two wildebeest. Three poachers were arrested from the second group of four. They had just arrived that morning and had not yet started hunting. A total of 14 wire snares were recovered.
The Ngiro-are team arrested one wa Kuria poacher , from a group of five,on the night of the 26th near Kasarani in the Lemai Wedge. The poachers were hunting Gazelle and had killed one Thompson’ Gazelle.
On the 28th two wa Kuria poachers were arrested by a joint Ngiro-are, Kokatende team near the Bologonja/Mara River junction in the Serengeti. Six wire snares were recovered.
One wa Kuria poacher was arrested on the night of the 30th by the Ngiro-are team at Kasarani in the Lemai Wedge. The poachers were on their way in to camp along the Mara River, 7 wire snares were recovered.
We cut the grass around, and also repaired the cement markers at each end of the Serena airstrip.
We completed most of our grading programme for the season by grading the roads to Ngiro-are, the main road to Oloololo and the roads going to Kichwa Tembo, Little Governor’s and Mpata Club.
The tractor completed cutting all the game viewing tracks and the road team then spent time in opening blocked culverts and repairing pot holes on the main roads.
We put up signs along the river near major crossing points to stop people getting out of their vehicles.
We painted the Ngiro-are office and will purchase a desk and chairs in July.
We erected signs along the Mara River warning people not to get out of their vehicles at crossing points.
Revenue and Accounts
The County Council approved new park fees at a full Council meeting on the 30th May; this meeting gave us authority to print new tickets in readiness for 1st July 2006, when the new fees will take effect. The new fees are set at the same values as for KWS category “A” National Parks.
Report on focus for June
Focus for July
· Repair housing at Mara Bridge and re-thatch gate house;
· Implement new salary scales;
· Collect new vehicles;
· Implement new Park fees;
· Complete grading of all roads;
· Start security training;
· Finalise recruitment of finance/admin officer; and
· Finalise appointment of consultant for 10 year management agreement.