Category Archives: Cheetahs

The ups and downs of CARNIVORE conservation??

As ‘we speak’ I’m listening to the VHF radio full of never ending talk between 3 teams of our scouts and KWS who are busy following a wounded Elephant, shot at by poachers 3 days ago in a valley on the southern slopes of the Ndotos, and he has dragged himself down into the lower Milgis, into very thick bush and they now can’t find him.. Hes lost alot of blood, and hes lieing down often.. SAD, SAD.. As every one keeps saying.. The Elephant situation is serious, and its frightening.. ITS A NEVER ENDING BATTLE.. We know who the people are, but unless you catch them ‘red handed’, they just get let out to do it again.. and thats exactly whats just happened..

DSC05389.JPG The lonely tracks of a mother and calf running from danger..

Any way, while that all goes on on one side I have been watching in dismay another saga unfolding again, with our most beautiful carnivores..

IMG_0254.JPG picture taken below Lkanto.. mum and her cubs!

The ups and downs of conservation, with reference to these magnificent animals… In Europe / America, they were called vermin and ALL shot 100 or even 200 years ago.. Thank goodness most of our African friends didn’t behave like that.. They lived with them and accepted and used them.. Not sure about the early Europeans in Kenya??.. You read any book and they killed lions /leopards every other day on their ranches!.. .. Sadly that attitude also spread up here in the second half of last century the cats, wild dogs, Hyenas actually all animals were killed discriminatingly, grrrrrr, the modern world catching up …… I do wonder if ever again wild animals in this world will beable ‘to live and let live’, I suppose we are breeding too quickly, for that dream and soon there will be no space left for animals except behind wire fences.. Believe me its happening in front of our eyes in Kenya.. BUT up here since we started the Milgis Trust we are delighted to say that we are seeing an incredible increase in carnivores.. (and no fences!) We all know what they do when theres no wild animals left to eat.. They go for the peoples livestock which is not popular, but I am always so surprised how accommodating the pastoral people are.. Thank you to them.. and they deserve to reap the benefits! If I have a chance they will and are actually!

IMG_0102 2.JPG Dikdik

IMG_0109 sererit.JPG a fabulous specimen of a bush pig..

The issue that I am watching is food for these big meat eaters, and the reason why theres a problem.. Remembering that we live in a very dry area, where there was never the plains game that other areas of Kenya have, plus the fact that almost every thing was killed by any one and every one.. There is a time when many people told me ‘to forget Northern Kenya its finished’!! Luckily I didn’t but this problem, is now ‘our’ problem, the ‘Milgis’ Problem!

Its as simple as this.. Carnivores have many young in one go and Herbivores have 1 at a time.. plus the Carnivores pop em out much more often than there ‘food’ does.. Just compare these Aprox. gestation periods in days of Lion -110, leopard – 100, Caracal – 80 compared to lets say Buffaloe – 340, Lesser kudu – 220, Warthog -170, the tiny little Dikdik – 170 , these figures are amazing.. Sooo how does one win, in getting the wildlife to rebuild itself when starting again! This is after what I once wrote.( the despicable blanket poaching in the 70s and 80s and into the 90s.. Every one, and I mean ‘everyone’ KWS included for some reason joined the awful ‘band wagon’ of poaching the wildlife in Northern Kenya, in fact almost wiping it out ) The wildlife is coming back slowly but surely, but just watching down below Lkanto, the carnivore proliferation far exceeds the Herbivore proliferation..We, not just me, but all my Samburu friends here at Lkanto, are so happy to see the carnivores, we sit on the rock where these warriors are sitting for hours!! Sadly because their own success they don’t have alot to eat, they must wake up each evening with a hard nights work ahead of them.. But they are surviving and they look fabulous in the night photos we are getting!!.. But this issue is a ‘double edged sword’ really.. and I try to appease the communities not to kill them, when they kill their livestock, but sometimes one feels is an up hill battle.. and I don’t blame them.. When somebody steels money out your bank account, of course one reacts with vengeance.. A leopard tried to kill one of our camels the other day, the camel eventually died, and it hurt.. But I tell them that if they hadn’t killed all the carnivores food so readily before, this would not be the situation.. AND by the way THEY AGREE.. Maybe this is a reason they are so accommodating.. When I take tourists out on safari if we are lucky to see any of the special five of the carnivores we actually double the camping fees that the community gets.. This certainly helps, but only wish there was a simple answer

DSC04973.JPG The warriors very happy to see this lion.. Its a very long time since we’ve seen one below Lkanto, but reports on the radio are on the increase, so something is working!! The Milgis Lugga was famous for its lions in the good old days, but one day we found the gov’t vet in the area dishing out poison to kill the cats, and hyenas.. This guy has stopped now, although sadly they still do it when theres a rabies outbreak..

DSC04965.JPG Much excitement down below lkanto when this lion casually wandered out of the bush and had a drink, and then lay down!!

DSC04984-001.JPG Heres her tracks while she was drinking..

REMEMBER A SAMBURU CEREMONY CAN NOT TAKE PLACE IF THERE IS NO LION SKIN TO TIE ON THEIR LEGS.. !!!

IMG_0146.JPG This splendid lesser kudu bull, has managed to survive several visits of the hunting dogs, this leopard and her two cubs, all the Hyenas and the lion so far, but sadly I think his days are numbered..

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DSC05022.JPG A few days later, 8 am we had this extraordinary show of 8 very excited spotted Hyenas, rushing in all directions making alot of noise.. We sent some scouts to check on what was up, and found that they had been hassling a lion! To put it in the Samburu thinking.. They were telling the lion ‘to hurry up and find some food for them’.. Here they are on there way home having caused there chaos.. In all my years out here and walking throughout, I think I’ve ever only come across spotted Hyena twice in the day time!

DSC05462.JPG Sadly another addition to our orphans, this one is from Lake Bogoria, but we were asked to bring it up in a sensible way and release it here.. She is absolutely beautiful! Her name is ‘Mbaso’, meaning lake..

Luckily there are plenty of these IMG_0549-001.JPG

IMG_0603.JPG and these! If the carnivores can catch them..

After that depressing story heres something to brighten your day up.. Lodermurts different range of hats through out the month of may!! The sun rising to the south on the first picture and out to the north in the last one!

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20.5.13 A hot day coming up??! DSC05011-001.JPG

27.5.13 DSC05027.JPG Lodermurt is the solid rock that we look at down the Milgis Valley.. Its 60 nautical miles away..

To be successfull in conservation you have to work with the communities….

The Milgis Trust takes this issue very seriously, working very closely with the Samburu and Rendille pastoral people who live here.. Together we are endeavouring to keep this WILD AND BEAUTIFUL place in Northern Kenya preserved..

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While out on an evening walk on our last safari, these two Elephants are out in the open with out a concern in the world! It certainly was not like that a few years ago in the Milgis Lugga! I’ve just read in the Laikipia Wildlife Forum newsletter a quote that I found really fitting from Guiseppe, a man who’s just spent just over a year filming through out Laikipia.. In his travels he came to this great conclusion!…… He learnt that co-existence between man and beast is possible if the right attitude is in place.. The point here being ‘ATTITUDE’! Ideas should be implemented only when people are ready to embrace them.. Ideas should be proposed, NOT imposed.. …… This was his final comment, complimenting the LWF in its work there!!

I AGREE with these words entirely, and time working with the communities is extremely important..

DSC00499-001.JPG Many of the Trusts activities are supported by the visitors who come on the Wild Frontiers Walking Safaris .. People who’ve enjoyed this magnificent part of the world, the beautiful people, wildlife, and exceptional scenery!.. Its impressed them, and they want to keep it that way!.. Thanks to all.. Your support is invaluable.. ..
So what does the Milgis Trust do to include the Samburu and Rendille communities in Conservation.. To make sure that even they will beable to see the Elephants in generations to come… First we remind them… ITS THEIR COUNTRY AND ITS THEIR FUTURE!!… So it should be well in their interest, to keep their home country in tip top shape!… That means LIVING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE!!.. ..

We spend alot of time holding meetings, and creating awareness through out the area.. Our Manager Moses Lesoloyia, believes the Samburu and Rendille are natural conservationists any way, but somehow greed, foreign intervention, and politics had affected them… We are reversing the damage as best we can together NOW.. We employ 28 scouts, and 19 informers from through out the 6000 square kilometre area that we are currently covering, who work tirelessly with their communities in creating awareness.. They all come to the Milgis Base every two months for a meeting and all aspects of conservation with in their areas are discussed..

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Some of the issues that came up at the last meeting….

Ceder Trees are being cut down on top of the Ndoto Mountains, and are being sold to traders.. The scout from the area could be closing his eyes to the problem, and was reprimanded.. A group of scouts will try to unravel who is involved in what here.. The trading will stop!..

Many scouts reported that Wild Dog, Cheetahs and Leopards are killing livestock.. This is always a serious concern, and we have tried to counter act this problem, by paying double the camp fees to the areas we camp on safari if we see any of the predators.. Its the least we can do to try to resolve this problem.. Then the people losing goats and sheep will get compensated…. Its helps.. But what we really need to try to do is increase the natural food for these predators.. The problem here is of course the antelopes have one kid, the predators have 4 cubs… its unfair!.. Other wise Lions are on the increase, and the good news is only one was reported killing livestock on the lower Milgis, the others are behaving!..

Somebody stole a gun, from a home guard and he had threatened to kill Elephants.. The scouts and community are taking this threat very seriously..

People are killing Ostriches for their feathers… Also young Ostriches are being taken by people who think that if they keep Ostriches the tourists will come and see them, they all died … Others are stealing Ostrich eggs in the name of research.. this will be followed up, by scouts and the community, and KWS will be informed.. ..

DSC00419.JPG We saw at least a 100 Ostriches, dancing, on the Elbarta plains the other day.. What a sight.. We also were happy to see 4 Adult and 4 young Grevy Zebra.. Good to see they are breeding..

Back to the meeting!.. Elephant poaching is a serious threat and every one must keep their eyes open, and be careful.. KWS are working closely with our scouts on these issues.. 3 armed men were seen, and followed by the scouts and community members.. They also threatened a child who was looking after the goats.. They were followed until they left the area to the North, but not with out stealing a goat!.. The people here are very vigilant on the tracks and its quite difficult to go any where with out being noticed!..

these are just a few of the issues our men and women face … All in a days work!!.. Other wise, many scouts reported good news.. Elephants living peacefully with plenty of water in most places, because of unseasonable rain which graced many places in the Ndotos.. The Scout in Seren said that the community there watched in absolute awe as the Elephants were sliding up and down the banks of one of the new dams!……. The Awareness trip in June was very successful, and they managed to cover many communities from West of the Matthews, both sides of the Ndotos, through to Mt Nyiru… They showed films on conservation issues, they then discuss it all with the communities.. The big issue up at Nyiru is the return of the Elephants..

DSC00411.JPG They are even brave enough to walk strait down the road now!!.. But when they get there the people are so excited to see Elephants that they are chased away again.. Nyiru is a very important refuge for the returning Elephants, and we need to make sure they are safe..

Rabies, rears it ugly head now and then, and many communities are asking for help with this.. Over the last few months, we have injected many dogs, and camels against rabies…

Several places scouts reported Wild animals are increasing.. Especially Giraffes, greater Kudu and gerenuk..

A good start to keeping with the locals is employment, the Milgis employs over 50 people from the local area, just in conservation alone..

DSC00289-001.JPG Quite alot of the Milgis team…

Other things that are going on as we speak in the Milgis…

Building a new eco-friendly Classroom, Thanks a million to TOTO TRUST… Who have also raised the funds for a teacher for the Milgis Primary School! DSC00700.JPG This will be Class 7… One more to go!

Digging pan dams, for people, livestock and wildlife..

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Leroiya and Service (21).JPG Our tractor at work in Leroiya..

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DSC00284.JPG finished product.. we gather yesterday they had a big storm here and the dam is now full of water..

Water projects.. We have just done a recce to search for the 5th VOSS foundation water project.. We drove 300 kms, all around the North end of the Ndotos, and found 3 places with serious water issues..

DSC00361.JPG Kasipo.. Theres a good bore hole but the hand pump is broken.. NO WATER!

sDiscussing the water project with Chairman of Masiketa.JPG In Masiketa, they have a very good bore hole, but getting Diesel for the pump is a big problem.. When they do get it the pump only pumps for two hours then it gets too hot! The community are anticipating a huge influx of people into the area, which usually happens at this time of the year, hope not as many as last year! The East side of the country will not get rain until October.. They are desperate for a solar pump, and asked us to come and see the problems there.. Pete discussing the situation with the masiketa community..

Seren tank that leaks.JPG Seren, they had a very expensive water system!! Unfortunately very short lived because the floods came, the well was destroyed, the pipeline washed away!! What wasn’t washed away was broken by the Elephants because they were not part of the equation of water beneficiaries! At Seren theres lots of tanks, and NO WATER! and whats more if they did have water, this tank leaks!

Other community help we try to give is… Sponsoring children to go to secondary School, and we help with health issues…We renovated the dispensary in Latakwen, and we employ a good reliable nurse, and helper so as to help the sick… thank you isabel.. http://www.happeningafrica.com/kenyan-nurse-rita-makes-it-happen-a-well-run-clinic-in-northern-kenya/
In November we will bring cataract surgeons in conjunction with MEAK to help the blind see again.. ..

DSC00140.JPG Lastly quite a funny story!.. ‘Our’ Elephant in the sand (refer to my last blog) nearly caused a serious stir in the communities! One of our Scouts who was on his way to the meeting came across it and the hairs on his neck immediately raised with fear!.. He checked it out, and studied its implications, and rushed on down the Lugga to report to the rest of the scouts, that there was a very dangerous sign in the Lugga, and that there was an imminent plan to attack from the Turkana and its pointing to Ilgwe Eldome! .. Just shows how different cultures can misunderstand each other! Part of every day life in northern Kenya is livestock raiding between the tribes, and sometimes the Turkana when they are planning to raid they will make a structure, or effigy on the track facing the direction they intend to attack.. Our Scout took one look at ‘our ‘ Elephant and had a ‘fit’…

DSC00723.JPG The Milgis Lugga catching the morning light.. July 2012..

Million thanks to all, & good news!

First and foremost, all of us in the Milgis, and that includes the ‘wildlife’ say THANKYOU very very much for keeping up with whats going on and helping us out generously to achieve our mandate…Which is ‘ The Milgis Trust aims to conserve the Wildlife, their Habitat and the Peoples way of life, in the Milgis Ecosystem! ‘ I used to not sleep very well, with the worry of where the next cent was coming from, but its now trickling in thanks, to all you caring, good people, and to ‘Catman’, NWHS who is really helping.. We are very very grateful…

Just to remind you…

MILGIS TRUST AIMS… TO CONSERVE THE WILDLIFE

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We call this elephant.. mammoth Hes seriously cool..PA052771.JPG

The desert Warthog…

PA022652.JPG This Lesser kudu has to be a record..

THEIR HABITAT,

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Above.. the Beautiful Matthews Forest

DSC07373.JPG East Matthews

DSC07396.JPG The South/East Ndoto’s

AND THE PEOPLES WAY OF LIFE!….

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Typical scenes around a well..

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Some for me …………… And some for you!!

IN HARMONY!!!!!!!

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Milgis Trust Vehicle… You’ll all be very happy to know that we are making fantastic progress on it.. We decided to go ahead, be positive, order it, (on hire purchase, thanks to Esso Motors Nanyuki, who kindly waived the fees).. So we are delighted to tell you that the funding is coming in slowly, and surely.. !! Thanks to all friends of the Milgis.. We are very excited to have a decent vehicle now, it will REALLY HELP!.. Thanks every one !!

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And lastly, You may be wondering how lovely slinky ‘Aarge’ is doing… Shes doing very well indeed growing up fast, and still best friends with the dog!

THANK YOU EVERY ONE FOR HELPING US ‘MAKE A DIFFERENCE’!..

By the way I hope you all saw the BBC Human Planet .. ‘Rivers’ Its amazing!! Our part is all about how the nomadic people follow the Elephants to find water … Its filmed in the Milgis Lugga!.. 1.jpg

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9.jpg Theres water!.. thanks to the elephants!

Looong safari for grevys to get to water..

All they need is a simple drink, but its not easy for them… I found it so sad that an animal that is so rare, between 2000-3000 in the entire world has such a desperate time just to find water.. But so is life up there, every one is desperate for water, and we met some incredibly hard working people.. Including us!!..

DSC07320.JPG We have just spent the last week driving around in our smart 1950’s ‘limosine’, DSC07315.JPG

investigating the water situation for the wildlife and people on the East side of the Ndoto Mountains and North to Ol Doinyo Mara.. ITS DIRE THATS FOR SURE.. What is amazing, is that there is plenty of wildlife out there in this very dry country including giraffe, cheetah, hyena, caracal, white tailed mongooses, Gerenuk and Grants gazelle who definitely have no way of finding water.. We saw two beautiful cheetah , female, and cub and many more tracks.. BUT sadly Grevy Zebras although they live in these semi desert places, have to get to water regularly… The Grevy Zebras we found are walking 30 kms or more just to get a drink every two/three days.. We followed their tracks to water for miles..

Grevy highway!. DSC07433.JPG

DSC07431.JPG Every day Grevys trek along these paths, on their way to water… DSC07440.JPG

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Their destination is Apach…. Its a little rocky canyon on the east side of the Arsim valley

DSC07447.JPG which was a tiny spring coming out of the mountain ten years ago, but this incredible man had a look, and decided there was more to this tiny drop of water!..

Nov.Dec 2010 297.jpg His name is Lerete… He does not know how to stand still!! .. For ten years he has been quietly chipping away at the stone until he has built an incredible pass for the animals to climb up to a well he has dug from the hard rock… DSC07470.JPG

DSC07454.JPG this is above the well, here he has re-routed the lugga above so that it goes around his well, which is about 20 feet deep.. DSC07459.JPG

DSC07456.JPG Some kind person helped him with some cement to save the well from falling in, or being flooded.. And made a trough for the animals.. All these people are his sons!..
Of course it was mainly for his cattle, all 25 of his had enough to drink.. And they were sure thirsty! DSC07466.JPG but when I asked him if he allows the Grevys to drink .. He almost looked angry, and said they are like my cattle as well, and we ALWAYS leave them water, but its not enough for all of them..

This dirty puddle at the bottom of the rocks won’t help to much either, and the next water is at least 12 kms away.. The Zebras of course have to walk through many manyattas to get to Arsim lugga, being the only water in the area now… THE DROUGHT IS BITING HARD AGAIN… NO PROPER RAIN FOR EIGHT AND A HALF MONTHS NOW..

Considering the extraordinary achievements this man has done we decided to offer him, a small token to look after the Grevys needs, as much as he can.. First job is to clean this dirty puddle out, DSC07449.JPG His mandate is to try to make sure the thirsty Zebras can find something at least.. What prompted us was last week a female had a foal at Apach, and she was desperately frightened, until the people decided to move the foal out of the canyon, she was pretty fierce, but they managed… She had not been able to find water in the night, and had to wait for her youngster to get up before she could move on.. By then it was already morning and she would not have been brave enough to go through all the people at Arsim.. BUT I was happy to see a tiny Grevy foal track on the Grevy highway!..

Below.. This water catchment was dug by the same man… you can see the wheel barrow marks on the sand… Its about 40 x 30 feet in size.. He has dug 4 now, the others not quite so big, but he says two are for wildlife, and he has let the other people in the area use the other one, its taken his whole life to do all this work… Nov.Dec 2010 295.jpg We await the rains to fill all the catchments up, and to ease the hardships of living here..

THIS MAN DESERVES CREDIT THATS FOR SURE!… THE MILGIS TRUST WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT HIM… BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT THIS GROUP OF GREVYS WOULD PROBABLY NOT HAVE MADE IT WITH OUT HIM..

‘ Aarge’ what a special animal she is…

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When our Milgis team headed off to collect Aarge, please see my blog, in August, they wondered if she would survive until they got to the Milgis…[These pictures have just got to me, but were taken on the 16th August.. ] She was incredibly weak and in quite a sorrowful sight, But according to the man who picked her up, she was alot better, than when they decided to pick her up!! They had made a little upstairs house for her to live in, so that she did not lie on the sand, and pick up ‘mango worms’.. basically thats all she did for the first week.. just sleep, and was happy to have something in her belly…

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When we got her to Elkanto, she started recovering very quickly, especially when Kosma the warrior took it on to himself to be with her as much as he could, and to sleep with her…August 2010 177.jpg here she is 11 days later.. Note her black tail, with the white tip..

Soon any company, human or animal she was happy, if ever she was left on her own, she would call and call… If one had the time to spend with her, sit down with her in no time she was purring, and showing real friendship, pushing her face to yours and licking!…

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Then we found her a real friend!! Nakwang, a puppie of her own age, who if she was out of sight, Aarge would panic… Its an incredibly special friendship between these two… They play and play all day!.. I have some wonderfull video clips of them playing!!

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6 weeks later, end of September.. below Aarge was really looking good, health and pretty fit!

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25th October.. Note how her tail has changed.!!. Shes just a mini cheetah now!! and ready to run… We weighed up the pros and cons of trying to settle her in the wild in the Milgis, and much against all our inner feelings we all realised it was less selfish to take her to a Wildlife Ranch in Laikipia, and this had to be done sooner rather than later, as she was growing fast… The KWS team at Latakwen were informed, and preparations were made to move her…

Off we go!.. october 2010 291.jpg In the aeroplane! Kosma, Nakwang, and Aarge in the basket..

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First day at the Ranch… from Dust to Green Grass! One day she can be free here, and she will not get into trouble because there are no goats to kill!.. There is plenty of plains game, and game birds… Our biggest concern, as always is the other predators, but for the moment we have that problem under control, and she will be taught… She also has already learnt to run to her safe house when frightened! Nakwang is also quite savvy, so together they will make it!!…

Vibes from ‘Catman’ saved this cheetahs life!

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Hello Every one… I have been in the bush up north for the last month or so, on safari and general Milgis Trust work… So much is going on, its hard to get to the computer!… But its all very positive…I have lots of news, but will start off with our new affiliation with National Wildlife Humane Society… or Catman who is a man who loves Cats, big ones and will stop at nothing to help them!!… He wrote to me out of the Blue, and ‘A’ for away!! He has already done much to raise awareness and money for us!..

August 2010 174.jpg And no doubt about it that his hard working positive vibes saved this little cheetahs life… Thank you to you Patrick and to every one who has been so generous already… greatly greatly appreciated, and thanks so much…!??

SO WHERE WAS SHE FOUND AND HOW!!??

Turkana 07 044.jpg looking from Ol Donyo Mara, towards the east Ndotos..

Turkana 07 042.jpg Aarge lugga

She was found up in the semi desert area to the East of the Ol Donyo Mara mountains, by a herder out with his goats, who heard her calling for her mother… He followed the sound, [cheetah young make a very loud kind of squeak, when they are lost, and the mothers can hear them from a long way off.. ] But she walked away, but not far from him, and he could see she may be in trouble… The next day he took his goats past the same place to find her still there and looking less strong, but she moved away again, so he checked all round to see if there were any signs of her mothers tracks… Nothing.. He went home that day worried, and sent a message to our scout in the area, and the next day, they headed back early to find her on the brink of collapse… Covered in thousands of camel/lion flies, and not able to run away… . They picked her up, She had almost lost all her fur, and she was very very weak, and frightened, but they gave her water…and slaughtered a goat… and made a special place for her to recover… The scout went off to where he knew he could get reception with our base radio, to let us know.. Just a few kilometres like 20!!

Two goats later, and ‘Aarge’, named after the beautiful lugga that flows out of the east side of these lovely mountains, was making a incredible recovery.. They killed all the flies, one by one, and her fur started growing back, and Moses Lesoloyia, our manager went to collect her in the land rover…She is now at Elkanto and making a wonderful recovery…

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Kosma, has been incredible with Aarge, he sleeps with her, and spends hours playing with her… He deserves all the credit for bringing her out of her very frightened shell..

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August 2010 213.jpg Aarge and this little puppy ‘Eldome’ became good friends through the wire, but he was too small still, she was too rough on him!! But we will find her a friend!..

We are delighted to tell you, that she has recovered fully from her ordeal, and is responding to her new life with the warriors at Elkanto beautifully… We hope this week that she can be let out of her cage, and will be free on the hill…

The man who saved this little Cheetahs life has been given a part time job with the Milgis Trust, as only a few years ago he would never have saved a Cheetahs life, he may have even killed it or left it to die.. Why because Cheetahs kill many of there goats and sheep, which is their only wealth, its like somebody breaking into your bank savings every week… With our constant campaigning throughout our area, on the value and importance of the wildlife, he was happy to save her… We are absolutely delighted…

What is the future for this beautiful Cheetah female?? We will see… She is still young, and has a long life ahead, and she loves Kosma, for the moment… We want the best for her, the Samburu don’t want her to go any where else!.. She could be an ambassador for the Milgis, and for the survival of the cheetahs, sometimes if you meet the ‘enemy’ at face, they don’t seem so bad!, but if she kills a goat they may think differently.. We will weigh the pros and cons, and possibly the best plan is to release her on a wildlife ranch… Of course not being brought up by her mother she will not know the dangers of the Lions, Hyenas etc…

Well wishers for Aarge’s up keep, are very welcome.. please!

The Milgis Trust needs more scouts to fulfill our mission…

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This Elephant is sending a clear message!

‘PLEASE HELP MILGIS TRUST PROTECT ME AND MY ENVIRONMENT’……..

The Milgis Trust has now been operating in the Samburu District for over five years. It has built a wonderful rapport with the tribal communities, chiefs and elders and it works hand in hand with the communities in regards to all its operations…

BACKGROUND…

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In just five short years the success of the Trust is visible in all our conservation objectives….

We now manage 22 full time scouts all employed from the local communities as well as 2 radio operators all of who work around the clock 365 days a year creating and sustaining an invaluable security network not only for the people but for the beautiful African wildlife that lives in the Milgis ecosystem.

Along with our scouts and manager we have gathered a Community Conservation Committee made up of chiefs and elders from all the surrounding villages,

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as well as an Eco-Screen Awareness Team that coordinates conservation screenings each month.

None of the projects we do, would be possible without the stable structure of the Milgis Trust Headquarters and the team that keep it running. Without our loyal team we would not be able to support the unforeseen situations that regularly arise in this remote and tough land, from emergency hospital transfers to elephant rescues.

Our radio station is always alive with communication and activities that need the assistance of one of our scouts who are always ready at hand 24/7.radios save so much time and money!.jpg

died from lack of water.jpg This warthog was found down a deep well, it jumped down too thirsty to think how it was going to get out… The scouts rescued it but it was too late.. It died after it had spent the whole night and most of the day down there…

There are five distinct areas to our core operations:

1. The Milgis Trust Radio Hill

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This is where our two radio operators live and work manning the radio waves and coordinating activities;

CORE OPERATIONS

2. Our 22 Scouts and local Manager…..

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Each of whom works full time in their allocated conservation range equipped with radio, GPS and binoculars ; as well as patrolling which they all do on foot, they create monthly records and reports on communities, livestock, wildlife and land degradation, whilst actively promoting and conserving the areas they patrol.

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3. Project Coordination…. The trust now always has a conservation project on the go and heavily relies on the team at the headquarters to manage and coordinate all activities on site, be it the building of the school or the opening of an elephant kisima (water hole).

wells for Elephants.jpg When the water table goes too deep for the Elephants to dig then the scouts help out, and open the wells for them so that they can get in and out safely…

4. Awareness meetings & Campaigns… The Trust holds several monthly and quarterly meetings with the scouts, the Community Conservation Committee as well as with the KWS and other conservation conservancies in the area. On top of this we regularly integrate the surrounding communities and believe it important to incorporate them in all our plans by holding village meetings.

5. Contingency Operations… Every day we receive emergency calls or visitors, be it for illness, wildlife emergencies, poaching, deforestation or fires. We always need to have the resources available to be able to deal with the situation quickly and effectively. In the last five years alone we have had to coordinate five baby elephant rescues to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi;

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The Milgis Trust Core Operations Team in just five years has built 1 primary, and 2 Nursery schools and provided drinking water to 3 schools and 2 centres. We have refurbished the local clinic, and employed a nurse…Amoungst many other small projects..

PROJECT IMPACT…

With the Milgis Trust’s gentle support the ecosystem is now regaining its balance. Already elephants are responding to the security presence provided by our scouts, which is exhibited by their increasingly relaxed behaviour and their expansion into parts of their former range . Our habitat which supports other key species including the Greater and Lesser kudu, Grevy’s Zebra, DeBrazza’s Monkey and many of the large predators including the endangered African Wild Dog, are rebuilding in numbers and thriving. A harmonious relationship is slowly being created between the wildlife and people of this area, and the communities are becoming excited and more accommodating to the creatures they once used to live in harmony with; thus reducing issues of habitat loss, competition for resources and human wildlife conflicts which was the main cause of wildlife deaths in the area.

All patrols are done by foot..

following and monitoring tracks..following and monitoring tracks.JPG

Scout patrolling the mountains.jpg On patrol in the mountains..

WILDLIFE HAS NO BORDERS, AND THE MILGIS TRUST NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH ITS SUCCESS… WE CAN’T LET THE WILDLIFE DOWN! If there is any one who can help support just the core ops, or even better to support a new scout, you would be helping conserve one of the most AMAZINGLY SPECIAL PARTS OF THE WORLD…We need to increase our scouts, as well as support the existing ones … Read more about how you can support the trust by going on safari!!!!http://www.responseabilityalliance.com/html/support_our_scouts.html

If there is any one out there that is willing and able to help out, please contact me… [email protected]

The cheetah cub is dead…. TOO SAD…

Its shocking news to all of us and I’m afraid I am having a hard time telling you all, this bit of news, because it was the happiest young animal, and his beautiful little life was cut short by a snake…. We never left him alone, there was somebody always with it… He/she, we never worked it out!, but had many discussions about it!,was playing in the grass below the mess and ‘booum’ he met this snake, we have absolutely no idea what kind of snake but it had a lot of poison in those fangs… The little cub was dead in ten minutes bleeding from his foot, and nose…. It was very quick… What I presume happened is.. when the cheetah got hurt, he used to get very very angry and go for what ever hurt it, so I think he was bitten more than once… WE ARE ALL VERY VERY SAD.. That cub had a character larger than an elephant, the bravery of a lion, the vocabulary to beat any human… The only time it was silent was when it was sleeping!… Even the warriors [See picture below] had come round to thinking … This is a very special animal… and kept on asking me… Is this a dog or a cat!??.. Remember in my original blog about the arrival of this cub, I was warned not to leave it in the care of the warriors!!… But in the end they even had a way of calling it and it would come running from where ever.. He went with them every where… Oh well… What this little cheetah can say.. is it did alot in its short sweet life… amongst other things survived an attack by dogs, a ride on a motor bike, a little high speed ‘flight’ off a cliff, about 15 feet high, he did hurt his leg, but it didn’t stop him…. And for sure who ever had the pleasure of meeting him was charmed!!…

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Dog killed, just because it was hungry…Any vets interrested in helping us out in their spare time!!.. Good experience…

Its a difficult one when you tell the nomadic people… Do not kill the predators…. For them, if there was no predators life would be so much simpler!!… They could just send the goats/cows off and round them up when they are ready! They would not need to make such good bomas [thorn fences] around their homes, in fact life would be a lot easier with out them…They wouldn’t get into the perpetual trouble they get into because they have to cut trees down to make a decent fence!… OF COURSE THIS IS NOT EVEN A THINKABLE OPTION!!… SO ..What is the solution??!! Imagine a world with out the king of the jungle, cheetahs, leopards, Hyenas… and all the other unbelievably beautiful carnivores on this earth… We at Elkanto are experiencing the incredibleness of these animals with our cheetah… He never ceases to amaze all of us… Its a tough little critter… VERY clever, so aware, tough as nails… Despite its sweet ‘look’ !! Luckily the Samburu have to have lions, because they CANNOT have a ceremony with out a piece of lion skin!… Also If there was no predators then there would too much competition with the stock for grass, with the herbivores… And finally if there was no predators who would get rid of the rotting carcases… So really the answer is to find ways of living with them!!… Dogs and Live fences being two answers…??

A dog that is well looked after is one of the best answers.. Their acute sense of smell, and hearing can pick up predators from far, and warn the manyatta… Or when the stock are out grazing/browsing the dogs can warn the Shepperd’s when there is trouble up front…Every manyatta has a dog, or many, but most of them are desperately thin, worms and being erratically fed is the reason.. Samburu have this terrible fear of rabies, and this is why this poor dog was killed.. story below.. Also when there is a batch of puppies, the females are almost always left to die, only because they later will produce puppies…

Yesterday a Samburu man, somebody I know well, came to see me with his 4 year old daughter… She had a little scratch on her side, from his dog… She had picked up the after birth of a goat to give to him and he had snatched it off her, and scratched her on her side.. The father immediately killed the dog..bludgeoned him to death… His favourite dog… So sad and so stupid… Because now who is going to look after the manyatta??

So we would like to do a “get the dogs in better shape campaign” to help the people live with the predators… This would mean castrating and spaying dogs, worming and giving rabies injections… And giving a little’pep’ talk on how to look after them…To as many dogs in the area… It would be an ongoing thing as its vast… Is any vet out there ready to gain some pretty exciting experience!! .. It won’t be dogs only you treat!!.. Any thing from an Elephant to a squirrel!! , Camel to a goat! as well… We also need to find a way to fund it …..ANY IDEAS?

The Cheetah cub is ‘fighting fit’!!

All the very best to you all for the new year!… I do apologise for disappearing off the face of the earth… We have been busy over Christmas and new year with camel safaris, and the computer battery went flat after a couple of days!, and I forgot to take the charging lead..Oh well it was good to have a holiday!, from the blogging, it takes alot out of me, to write a good one!! …But don’t worry the scouts have been busy, and Pete and I have been able to meet up with quite a few of them and to check on their areas… We did alot of walking in the magnificent Ndoto mountains where sadly the November rains were not good, which will put a strain again on the wildlife..Unfortunately the worst to suffer will be the Grevy Zebra, that rely on the water, on the east side…..We have alerted the scouts to try to make sure the water available to these animals that walk so far to have a drink.. In the last week there have been a few signs that it may rain in the next few days… maybe at full moon?? lets hope.. Today we were in Ngurnit, and it was pretty cloudy.. Other wise, thank goodness the Matthews Range has had good rains, most of the rivers are flowing still…

On arrival at Elkanto, we were delighted find the young Cheetah in tremendous form, and it recognised me strait away as I walked in… It is doing very well indeed, its grown quite alot, and is very playful…Very aware, talkative, has a big vocabulary, and quite ferocious for his size!!… He looks even more like the ever fierce Honey badger…He is complexly free, but seems to like human company, and the dogs tip toe around him!.. At least hes stopped calling and searching for his mother, which was quite heart rendering…

This was a picture taken on the 23rd December23.12.08 Cheetah cub.JPG

I was told that I should be careful not to leave him in the hands of the Samburu Warriors as they may kill it… But I certainly am not worried now, they all love it, are fascinated by him, and can’t keep away!!