Category Archives: Desert warthog

The Milgis is ‘breeding content’!

Not sure if the title makes sense, but have a look at what I mean.. Heres our Christmas family coming along well!!.. IMG_0013.JPG

Desert warthogs… Still 3 young ones looking pretty grown up now! I’m impressed as we have been plagued by hunting dogs!! Please note I use that word as far as the pigs, and other poor old creatures are concerned, that must live in complete fear when a group of these very highly dangerous hunters are around.. We are delighted with their very vocal presence..

Last night as I sat there under a crystal clear star studded sky on the top of Elkanto, BUT listening to the Parsaloi flood roaring down towards the Milgis.. We could hear it 15kms away, so a huge amount of rain up stream!! Very exciting!.. I was trying to think of a title for my next blog of ‘mums and babes’ all caught on the night cameras in the last month, below Elkanto…. Have a look at this little show !!!

IMG_0281.JPG Two little Caracal Kittens following mum… there were quite a few pictures of Caracals passing the camera so we can only hope that one of them is ours!!

Bush pigs…

IMG_0454-001.JPG Mum with 6 babes in tow..

Here they come..
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IMG_0036.JPG We have 100s of this scene, but unfortunately the camera was upside down, and too high!!.. none the less we have one picture of a beautiful hunting dog pup, and mum..

IMG_0001suiyan.JPG Keeping watch!..

IMG_0001porky and babe.JPG I absolutely adore this one of the Porcupine, rushing along.. He was going so fast there was not a chance of a second shot!!

Each scouts radio call sign is an animal, and they have to learn about there specific animal and teach the rest at scouts meetings!! My call sign is ‘Eyaiye’ Porcupine in the Maa language, so I have have a special affinity with these wonderful animals!! so if any one out their has more to tell about this creature please do!!

Just a few more pictures of the months catch!!

Threatening!! Hes telling the camera to watch out!.. Come abit closer and I’ll prick you!

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IMG_0154.JPG A beautiful portrait of a wild cat..

IMG_0093-001.JPG I reckon this has got to be a pretty fine specimen of a Desert Warthog!!

Stripy, standing high and beautiful IMG_0311-001.JPG

Finally Leo.. In pretty good shape I would say…

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After the rain all around, this is what we woke up to this morning! A lovely wet Milgis Lugga..

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This is what caused it!!DSC04775.JPG

From dust to the land of milk and smiles!!

These days in Northern Kenya you can not walk past a manyatta ( pastoral homestead) with out somebody calling from inside inviting you in for a cup of milk!! They have too much, and its just extraordinary times up here! We have had more rain than any one can remember!… What an extraordinary change from a few months back when it was dust, famine, raging winds and desperation and now long grass, flowers in their billions, calm days but unbelievable floods to beat all years!!

A couple of before and after pictures! Dust at Leamu in the evening light..

october 2010 067.jpgDSC02782-1.JPG Same spot a few months later!!

A couple of Elephants passing Elkanto in June.. 2011
It was just a few days after the first rain came, so it has greened up abit..
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DSC02490.JPG Same spot Nov 2011.. Heliotropium flowers!

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A month or so ago, in fact before Pete’s walk these Luggas were highways, every one from Humans, Livestock, Elephants, Hyenas and cars were charging up and down.. Luckily they’re so big there is no possibility of a traffic jam!.. NOW they are huge flooded rivers, just taking any thing down thats in front of them.. This is the Seiya up stream, where the Ngeng comes in..

DSC02447.JPG DSC02477.JPG The Junction of the Laana Nikan and Parsaloi, below Elkanto, where they become the Milgis.. Its now over a km wide! Below is the Milgis at Leamu..

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The floods this year have been very very exciting, and we gather that people who have not waited for the rivers to subside have lost vehicles… ( In the old days if you came across a flooded lugga you waited till it went down before you crossed, but these days people don’t have the patience or the knowledge) BUT even the trees have to hold on really tight, ..

DSC02775.JPG 9.15 am.. there one minute .. The next.. DSC02776.JPG 9.22 am GONE!!

Sadly now I have heard that about 200 trees, Acacia Tortilis, and Doum Palms have been washed away!..

DSC02804.JPG We had breakfast under this Acacia on our last safari… Oh so sad after all they’ve been through!

Well with these good rains we now have Pelicans on our bird list!!
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And so many types of grass!! Yes this is in the NFD! ( in the colonial days one had to get a permit, to go to the harsh Northern Frontier District!.. It was known to be such a hard place for people to survive, and if you got lost, or you broke down, you would struggle to survive, and where would the authorities start to look!, you only got a permit if you knew what you were doing!) This doesn’t look harsh!!

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DSC02728.JPG A lovely male Desert warthog, Hes got very impressive tusks!!

Then of course the most wonderful thing is the Flowers.. Below is not hail, but Heliotropium!

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DSC02626.JPGDSC02801.JPG Fallen petals..

And the scented air.. After all that dust and wind imagine how pleasant it is now, no wind… calm…. cool!!

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Look how this lovely flower below holds the water..

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Interesting thing also… This area in the picture below was burnt by a Rendille guy by mistake, when he lit a fire to try to keep the Hyenas off his sick camel that could not get up.. I think it was an unfortunate or lets say careless accident.. oh well, he also lost his camel, burnt around 5 acres of valuable camel browse, and look also nothing has grown at all..

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And this below was burnt in 1999, and there is still no grass, after a record at least 10 inches of rain!.. So why do they burn.. It is a thing I will never understand, but there was very little burnt this year, and with the invasion from Marsabit it was surprising.. Does this mean we are winning!! I think so!

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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..

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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]

Is this recent drought a turning point in the way people are thinking??

Hi every one, sorry to have disappeared! Just back from a beautiful camel safari through the green hills of the Northern Frontier District!!… Its beautiful up there, we’ve had to cross flooded luggas, and slip and slide through mud, and best of all just watch the grass grow, and watching all the animals gain strength, and even to run away…

crossing a flooded Lugga.jpg Crossing the Seiya Lugga.. Nov 09.. Camels know too well how dangerous it can be, as they can fall into pockets of air under the sand and sink in up to their heads, in water

green grass.jpg Green grass… You probably wonder why I took this picture but its an unusual site in the N.F.D… Its incredible!! I took too many pictures of green grass..I’ll only bore you with one!!

Desert warthog too weak to run away.jpg..Desert warthogs, taken early Oct. 09,with a very simple camera, surviving on the only grass available, which is like thorns, very dry and hard, too weak to bother to run away… now you won’t see them for dust… The wildlife has suffered very badly, but if it hadn’t.t been for the Milgis Trust scouts many more would have perished, through lack of water..

Compared to the rest of Kenya so far, we have been very lucky with rain, although it is very patchy… But in the last year hundreds and thousands of trees have been cut down, and uncountable livestock has died… We came across people that have lost almost every thing they own… Its hard, but they now need to think why…. Too many people trying to live off too little, brings disaster… Are the pastoral people going to change their principals!??? As you know one of the most important mission of the Milgis Trust is to ‘conserve the peoples way of life’ in this magical country… But one thing has to change and that is the amount of stock that can live off this semi desert land… Actually, as I say, Nature has done the job, this time but its caused a lot of suffering…

Cut down to feed livestock.jpg After the rains nov. 09.jpg

Just for fun… 1st Picture taken 9 th October 09 showing tree chopped down for a hungry goat …. 2nd Pic taken end October… Same area!!

The Manager, with the area scouts are at the moment out to do a massive awareness campaign, not so much to tell the people but to see if they have learnt something… In the managers words… ‘In general the response from all the people we talk to is indicating that the last drought has opened the eyes of many in terms of the numbers of livestock we keep and the destruction of the environment. Many report that they went all the way to Marti and eventually came back to the Milgis lugga, [where people do not cut trees any more!] which rescued their animals. LOTS TO DO!!…

Droughts are sent to test our durability…and sort out the inbalances… are they not??

Paula, thank you for putting my last blog on!… Weldone you!…You are right!.. After our disappointment of not getting the money, after weeks of work!, for a Rabies programme, and then the proposal was declined.!

Starving and thirsty dog.jpg!..Because this dog is starving and thirsty, people tend to think it has rabies, so will throw stones at it… In stead of helping it… Right now there are thousands of dogs in this same trouble..

Paula wrote me a note saying keep positive and keep those blogs flowing…The following is what I wrote back to Paula!.. I am sorry about my lack of blogs, I find it so hard when I really know the reason for all this suffering is abit beyond every one who reads thems’ help… natural cycle of weather event, although the over population of the land is not helping, but its not our readers fault!…BUT I suppose I have to remember that the readers are not enduring a drought, so they may feel more positive… Although they are experiencing their own kind of drought in the financial world!…

Talking about Droughts… We’ve seen them before, as I’ve mentioned in a earlier blog in July, they come in about ten year cycles here, and and its upon us again, but this time it seems the noose around our necks has got alot tighter than last… But maybe the reason is there are so many more people living off this semi desert land… Actually a land of plenty if the balance is right… I’ve said it once and I’m saying it again… Why aren’t we doing something about the overpopulation of our world, why is it a subject that people are scared to talk about, what do they call it? P.C.?!! But in the meantime we are going to strangle our selves, the suffering is going to be so severe, its too frightening to think of… why can’t we see it coming.??.. The suffering is already awful, you guys in America, Europe, the rest of the world must feel so helpless, in situations like these as all the blogs from Kenya are along the same lines, but sometimes maybe we need to help ourselves, when it comes to ‘THE FUTURE of this beautiful land its people and its wildlife’… Also this is the reason the Milgis Trust was started, and your support is invaluable….. We are trying!

At the last scout meeting at the end of the month of course every scout had sad stories of how animals are not coping well, as I said, funnily enough the desert warthog is suffering the most of all the animals… Many reports of them coming in to look for help from the humans, one Samburu guy reported a family of four that literally moved in with his herd of goats, ate and drank with them, but even these four have diminished to one…. Several reports of the Baboons and Monkeys dieing, but more of disease, obviously not helped by the dry times, any one have any ideas on what is killing the monkeys, in Northern Kenya.. But there is somebody out there in the dust, that is doing well!!… The predators are having a field day… They don’t know which animal to eat first…

We went for a walk to Latakwen, a small village north of the base of the Milgis Trust, and all the way there we came across dead and dieing animals, Samburu livestock that could not keep up with the herd, so have been deserted, but even worse on our way back we came across the carcasses of around 50 goats and sheep all strewn around a deserted manyatta, all perished from disease, lack of water, and food.. We were told the people left with 3 animals….. This is where our proposal for the new vet unit, with which we will be working with the people on ‘quality rather than quantity of live stock’ and this will include the Rabies programme, mentioned in the last Blog..

Mud, mud NOT so glorious Mud…

This picture shows things in the good times, plenty of water..

good times on the banks of the luggas...jpg This is the Elephants favourite area, at Ol Donyo Waas.. This special salt water that they come to every day… And lots of cover around.. This is now completely dry, and the well than Nchan was rescued out of is in the middle of where the water is…

all thats left for the cat fish, and Animals.jpg and this one shows another elephants favourite drinking spot in not so good times… I gather from the oldest people around that its never been this dry, at this particular spot, in there life time.. It must have been affected by the fires up stream…

And this picture shows just how bad it can get…desperate situation for these cat fish.jpg There are about 200 cat fish, in this stinky mud hole, and each day it gets dryer.. They have their head up to breath… You see them open there mouths, and the air goes in and muddy bubbles come out through there gills… Every two minutes there is a complete frenzy to try to get to the cooler mud below ..Imagine how hot it must get at mid day, in that disgusting smelly mud hole….. yesterday I got a report that they are nearly all dead now… Shame, shame.. nature is cruel…

Beautiful little animal.JPG mean Knashers.JPG This beautiful little young animal, the desert warthog is just another victim of these dry times, he was found stuck in the mud, on the Milgis Lugga.. The scout cleaned him up and brought him 15 kms to try to save his little life but he was not lucky… I just wanted to point out the incredible defences he has, at this very young age!! They can draw blood quite substantially with a quick side swipe!…

Hard times for the wildlife… So dry..

Just wish we had our dam project up and running, but thank goodness this morning there are exciting clouds billowing over the Matthews Range.. Finally we REALLY hope for rain throughout.. All I am getting news of, is wild animals desperately in need of water… Just to mention a few of the problems…. Two young Grevy Zebras died trying to get to water, on the east side of the Ndotos… And many more animals falling into wells, and not being able to get out .. On the lower Milgis a big elephant spent the night battling to get out, which it did luckily as we did not enjoy the thought of having a repeat of the one in September! Elephant in desperate situation is saved…. PHEW!!! I have added some pictures on the blog which you may like to see….. Another very pregnant Elephant that was going down a very steep path having drunk in the Langata Nanyuki to the south of the Ndotos, slipped down the rocks and landed badly, her front legs were under her body, all her weight was on her neck, and she could not get up… She died before the scouts could find help.. A warthog, which died sadly but two wild dogs where pulled out of a well in Nairimirimo, and released I am happy to tell you… Unfortunately we have got no further with our investigations on our wild dog that was tied up for two days, and supposedly taken by KWS?? [See my last blog] I’m afraid the plot is thickening, and please be patient, we are determined to find out what is going on… But have discovered that there is a trade in wild dogs, going to markets where rich people want these beautiful animals as pets!!..Which explains why we have heard of people looking for puppies… Going back to our ‘poor’ dog… It sounds like she was pregnant, somebody who tried to get a job with us a few years ago, with a letter from the KWS, [ who knows how genuine] suggesting we took him on to look after the wild dogs!!, He made the phone call, and refused them to let it go… What we haven’t managed to establish is whether the dog died or was taken… Our scout has been taken on a ‘wild goose chase’ and he will go back to investigate… He was told the dog died, but when he asked to see the body it did not seem to exist!!… Yesterday a young genet cat was found in a well near the base, which was brought in…Its too small to release but we will as soon as its ready to go… LETS HOPE IT POURS WITH RAIN… PLEASE EVERY ONE WAVE YOUR MAGIC WANDS!! We need the rain so badly..