Category Archives: Lions

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..

Thank’s to all for keeping the ‘Milgis’ busy!!

We would so like to THANK every one who supports ‘THE MILGIS’… So many people!!! What with Pete and Kosma’s walk which has been a great success… You can be sure that our scouts are out there working hard to look after those WISE OLD ELEPHANTS… AND trying their best to keep those Milgis LIONS safe!! A very very special thanks to Bruce who pledged £65, but times ed (X) it by 100 ! !WOW!! Thanks to Bruce, and thanks to all.. As I said before the Elephants can continue to trumpet, and those Lions WILL roar again! Kosma, you are now an ‘HONORARY’ scout to the Milgis… We will turn to your incredible wisdom (for such a young man!) for help, for many years!! Aarge is your claim to faim, but you have done so much more!

The Supporter list for the Milgis is Long, and so we are being kept very busy with all the projects!!!!!

SO WHATS GOING ON AT THE MOMENT!!

We are going to put a water project in at Nyiroiya… We THANK the ‘Just around the corner’ art auction and VOSS FOUNDATION for supporting the Milgis operations, and for the funds for a very interesting new water project in the desert East of the Ndotos Range!!.. The Solar panels have arrived in Kenya and we are going to start work as soon as the rains stop!! YES its still raining up north!

DSC07294.JPG This hand pump broke down ten years ago!! When we went to recce this project we came across some PRETTY THIRSTY PEOPLE… This project is going to really be of great help to many NOMADIC people, and animals..

DSC01287.JPG The nearest water especially in the dry season is about 20 kms away from here, near the Ndoto Mountains.. There are many people living here, who would dearly enjoy an ‘easier’ drink….

USFW ( US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE) for a HUGE amount of support to our Elephant’s… The scouts, and operations.. Thank you…

IEF (International Elephant foundation) for facilitating water for the Elephants.. They supported a project to dig wells for the Elephants in the Luggas when the water was too far for them to reach.. Also two pan dams were hand excavated, on important Elephant routes, this we did with the communities.. These are now full of water now!! The Elephant are having a field day!

MEAK is supporting the Latakwen dispensary, employing a Nurse and cleaner and a scout, who’s job is to eradicate Trachoma, and to inform people if they have a cataracts.. ( seen in the background by the car in the striped shirt checking an old mans eyes for cataracts) Also helping so many people who have no where to turn to for help for some absolutely terrible ailments… Bringing the LIONS team in may 2011 to operate on cataracts and perform TPR ops, was very successful, and September 2012, the team will be back.. Not forgetting the new Milgis Vehicle!!

DSC00937.JPG Our prize for the year! Thank you to every one for the funds to buy, run and maintain this extremely useful pickup!!

TOTO Trust and Wanaduma continue to support several schools in the area.. building class rooms, and supporting teachers, buying books, and materials to keep the schools running.. .DSC01248-1.JPG This is the Nursery school built in Latakwen thanks to Toto Trust.. Its the smartest building in town!! DSC00746.JPG

The building on the right is new, and will soon be adorned by our Artist, Nderitu’s beautiful paintings of wildlife and habitat messages!

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Assembly at the Milgis school! Now at least 150 children.. We have now built 5 class rooms, an office, store, a small Kitchen, staff houses and a Nursery… So we need to build 3 more class rooms, ONLY and then its a full school!! The school has running water, brought up from the Lugga.. Well it did until the floods came, the well was swamped a few days ago, but we will sort this out soonest!!

Marwell zoo, and Zeke… Here he is pretending to be an Elephant!!

Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (11).JPG He is giving a lecture on how close one should get to an Elephant… Present is all the Milgis scouts, and the children who are being sent to school in our sponsorship programme.. You might ask why would Zeke know better than, the Samburu!, but remember the Elephants were wiped out of this area by poachers, in the 70s and 80s, and some people have forgotten how to live with these wonderful animals!.. Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (13).JPG

A little earlier on we had been watching an Elephant in the Lugga below the base.. Then we saw a warrior walking down the lugga obviously not looking around but when he saw this Elephant, lets say 50 meters in front of him, he did a 180 and headed back in the direction he came from at high speed, but suddenly thought to himself ”why am I running!!” Actually the Elephant was just standing there, and had not even seen him!!DSC01615.JPG You can see the warrior in the middle of the lugga. These dry river beds of course are used as highways, but theres a big ‘jam’ in this one!DSC01616-1.JPG You can’t see the warrior too well in the picture but hes quite close in the shade on the left bank!! Now the Elephant had noticed him, but was cool… The warrior obviously had a loooong way to go because he was keen to get past him, and on his way, so was edging along the left side of the lugga, only to his dismay, out popped 3 others,!! He then hot footed back to go a different way!! What Zeke was trying to explain is Elephants have comfort zones, and how close they like ‘the enemy’ to get to them is to be noted! They don’t have good eye sight, but very good hearing! It obviously depends on the mood of the Elephant !! And as long as we respect that you are pretty safe!! But these Elephants here were very quiet and content!!,

Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (15).JPG Every two months all the 28 scouts and as many of the Milgis Wildlife Ambassadors walk to the Milgis base for a meeting, and when we can we incorporate the children that we are sponsoring to go to secondary school… In the holidays we hold a weeks adventure for these mostly very poor, quite clever children at the base.. We call it the wildlife club.. Thank you to mostly the ‘Women helping Women’ from Norway for this highly appreciated help..

Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (16).JPG The whole group… Milgis Scouts and Wildlife club members, that enjoyed Zekes lecture!! We now have 20 children who are sponsored to go to secondary school… Thank you to all the sponsor parents from Norway and England..

Thank you Zeke and Marwell zoo for all you support in trying to monitor the wildlife in the area.. and lots more! Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (33).JPG Zeke with the scouts, putting their last two months GPS co-ordinates, in the records..

Andre and Maria… We are very grateful for you contacting us! Andre is a water expert! Invaluable up there.. And Maria is going to help the communities, make sell-able artifacts, and to market them.. .. Watch this space!!

The Dam project is just amazingly successful.. Thank you to our friends in Portugal, for unbelievable continuing support here… Water is life, life comes from water!!… Since the tractor arrived last year on site we have built 14 dams… and they are ALL FULL TO OVERFLOWING NOW!!!

DSC02425.JPG Our newest dam in Ilgwe Eldome! Already has water in it.. not quite full in this picture, but it is now!!

DSC01745.JPG I love this picture of Elephant tracks in the mud!!

Wildlife Direct… you have been amazing!! Thank you for helping us all out .. That is… To GET OUR MESSAGE OUT TO THE WORLD.. WE WOULD BE ‘NO WHERE’ WITH OUT YOU… Last but unbelievably important is CATMAN of NWHS… Never a dull moment with you!! How are your two Tigers doing???? We really really thank you!!

FINALLY A NOTE TO FINISH ON…… I thought that Daphne Sheldrick hit the nail on the head with her comments below…

It is never just the poached elephant, but the dependent young that die too, and the whole herd is torn apart and irreplaceable wisdom lost as matriarchs fall. Those with the understanding and vital knowledge of how to guide their families through the harsh dry seasons that grip these areas almost annually, with the knowledge of where vital water sources lie, where safe migratory passages are, all that crucial wisdom goes with them. The beautiful big breeding bulls whose guidance and discipline is so vital for the younger male generations growing up in their wake, their demise is immeasurable too. If Africa’s elephants are to be saved the demand for ivory has to be eliminated within its far eastern destinations… Only a total ban on the sale of all ivory and ivory products, whether legal or illegal, will stem the slaughter. Impoverished communities living alongside national Parks, and in areas like ours cannot resist temptation of this nature. Elephants are being killed daily so that there tusks could be calved into a decorative ornament, or hanko. Thank goodness for DSWT and KWS that have saved many little Elephants, for they too would have been the ivory demands collateral damage.

POACHING RAVAGES ELEPHANT SOCIETY

THANK YOU TO ALL THE MILGIS VOLUNTEERS< SUPPORTERS< DONATORS< Especially to all our very special personal friends, who’ve been on safari with us and been so so generous.. From Pete and Helen, and Moses Lesoloyia, our manager, and all the Samburu who are benefiting from your incredible donations.. who’ve I forgotten??

The Elephant Whisperer made it !!

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NGURNIT TO ELKANTO IN ONE DAY FOR THE MILGIS ELEPHANTS AND LIONS… Well done Pete and Kosma.. AND WHATS MORE THEY WERE GREETED AT THE END OF THEIR LONG WALK BY THREE BEAUTIFUL BULL ELEPHANTS!!

DSC04674.JPG Early in the morning, the three ‘ Sangalais ‘ arrived to meet the walkers.. seen here crossing the Parsaloi, to get into position!…

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Not knowing which direction the whisperer was coming from they stood in the middle of the Lugga waiting for news!

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As the news of where they were coming from filtered through, they decided to get to a better spot to meet the walkers!! And by the way Kosma and Pete walked right into them at the confluence of the 3 luggas!

So how did the walk go!.. 13th October.. ON OUR WAY TO NGURNIT…

DSC02035.JPG Pete checking out the route.. Hes looking a little apprehensive, it looks rather a long way.. Below Kosma not worried about a thing!..He knows Pete can make it!DSC02038.JPG

DSC02047-1.JPG The weather looking interesting.. Lodermurt, near Laisamis catching the sun.. DSC02060.JPG Ngurnit Runway!

DEPARTURE FROM NGURNIT 4 am 14th October 2011!!

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OFF THEY GO!!

Half an hour after they left, it started pouring with rain.. POURING DRIVING RAIN!.. It rained until 2 pm the next day.. They literally squelched their way to Elkanto!!.

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11 am we finally get a bit of news of our walkers!! They are doing really well, and are near a place called Motio.. No point in stopping, as they are completely soaked.. These pictures are taken of the runway at Ngurnit.. Now I’m worried that Pete and Kos are going to make it to Elkanto before me.. (which they did actually!)

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Finally at 3 pm I managed to take off from Ngurnit, while it was still drizzling!

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My Flight home!..MILGIS IN FLOOD!! The day before, there was not a drop of water in the Lugga!.. Today a raging torrent!

DSC02084.JPG Motio..

DSC02088-1.JPG The two of them are somewhere in these two pictures!! I just managed to catch them from the Aeroplane, as I flew over, as they head towards the junction of the 3 Luggas below Elkanto.. .. Below is the final crossing of the Parsaloi Lugga.. It was their great worry that it would be too full to cross, but in the end it was fine!!DSC04836-1.JPG

The Climb up the 600 foot Elkanto hill was really challenging for both of them.. They were really hungry, having had a cup of tea and biscuits on departure at 4 am, and now they had literally not been able to light a fire in the rain en route.. They tried twice to get a fire going but every thing was soaked through, and so could not waste time as they had ‘ things to prove and places to go ‘! The second time, Kosma, did something completely ‘ not on ‘ in his tradition, feeling so hungry and desperate for a cup of tea, was forced to go into a manyatta and ask for fire, but the woman, having asked him where he came from and where hes going said ” No! I can’t … What if my husband sees smoke following you down the trail, he will know!! ”.. Kosma even tried this on her.. ” The white man down there,” pointing at Pete, ” needs a cigarette!!” ( Pete’s never had a cigarette in his life! ) but the woman was not having it!! Oh well on wards and for wards said Kos..

Arrival at Elkanto!!

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‘Kosma I here by make you an ‘ HONORARY SCOUT ‘ of the MILGIS TRUST..Thank you for coming with me ”.. Kosma really deserves this title, not only because he accompanied Pete on this walk, but he has been instrumental in helping us with our Milgis work.. He was of course was the man that brought Aarge the cheetah back to life.. (And by the way while I am on that subject she is doing very well, shes beautiful and inseparable from her friend the dog.. A special friendship continues…)

Pete and Kos.. DSC04857.JPG checking out where they have come from!! They don’t look like they have walked from Ngurnit to Elkanto, and they’ve got lots to tell us!! WHAT A DAY……….

The two of them set off from Ngurnit in high spirits, heading off into the dark, because can you believe it it was VERY CLOUDY!! Pete has a problem seeing in the dark, and that was the whole reason to walk with the light of the near full moon, but it was not to be!! Pete just followed Kosma’s white Shuka, and all was going well, BUT after 30 minutes of walking, the heavens opened.. Rain, like nobody had seen for many years.. Ngurnit area was suffering from the same drought as North Eastern Kenya.. What a coincidence that it should rain on this day that Pete had decided to do his walk.. He had been talking about it for many years.. How he will deal with the heat and distance, how many re hydrate drinks and bananas he will carry, and how they will stop at ‘ The Desert Rose ‘ for porridge and tea on the way , etc etc.. None of this happened, it was now absolutely chucking it down, and Pete and Kos are going as fast as they can to beat the flooded luggas!! DSC02094.JPG In this picture, Pete is telling us about how his arms went completely white in the rain from the sun cream!! Kos made us laugh!.. He said that they were sailing along the path that was flowing water, and suddenly Pete was down, flat out on the ground.. He had stepped in an Elephants track, in the mud, which sent him flying!!.. When he got up he had mud every where, including along the rim of his hat!!.. They met very few people on the way, but the few they did were absolutely amazed.. and asked ”Where have you come from?” ”Ngurnit.. ” ” What today? absolutely no way.. No white man can do that they said!!.” But were also very encouraging for the rest of the way!! ” Ok.. Anchom Ngai ” (Go with God!!)

A very big THANKYOU to all who have responded to our plea for the Elephants and lions and those who have been so generous.. We are extremely grateful.. If there are any others who are willing and able to help us out we would be so happy.. You can either donate on this page through NWHS, or I can send you the Milgis Trust bank details..

SAD NEWS… I’m afraid, in the pouring rain while Pete and Kosma were walking, some poachers shot another very big bull Elephant on the west side of the Ndotos.. We have all our scouts there to follow up, and to try to catch the perpetrators.. We feel sick with sadness.. Unfortunately we are not getting the back up we should be with KWS, but have already nominated two new scouts, with the money collected already from Petes walk, to work on it.. So many thanks, and we are trying our best.. ..

Pete’s mega walk in 1 day for the Lions and Elephants..

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Pete is 65 years old, Ngurnit is 65 kms away from Elkanto, and Pete hopes to raise 65000 or more!! UK Pounds, dollars, or at the least Kenya Shillings to try to help our Milgis Elephants stay safe and to try to do any thing we can to save the famous Milgis Lions, which are disappearing fast.. Pete is going to do this walk in one day for them, before he reaches 66, on the 22 of January!..

We all know that the lion, ‘ THE KING OF THE JUNGLE ‘ is a huge frightening animal, and he needs alot to eat, but its no excuse for us Humans to say there is no room left for him, so lets blot him off the face of the Earth… forget it!!.. .Yes the lion especially in our area, is very nomadic, and they are not lost yet, BUT one was killed the other day by warriors, because it killed a cow!! .. What is the answer to stop this?.. Ideas are welcome from any one out there.. Its incredibly sad to watch them go one by one.. These days the only thing we see is the odd track, because they are so persecuted….

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Why are they disappearing?.. Well if Lion had lived in Europe and America in the last century, they would be all gone.. They would be classified as vermin, and blotted out.. So we have to give the people in Africa huge credit for still having them!.. But sadly now the modern world is catching up, and the human has given up trying to live with the THE KING.. BY the way the Samburu can not do a ceremony with out a piece of Lion skin, so their protection is of paramount importance, so how do we do it??

The Elephants need to be especially protected against this despicable poaching that is happening in Kenya.. We have now lost 3 to poachers bullets, and we are very sad.. ..

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Pete will do the walk with Kosma, for company! Kosma has no doubt about Pete making it!! Its going to be an extremely tough and hot walk, and its a long way!.. They will leave at 4 in the morning from Ngurnit, following the track around the south end of the Ndotos, up the Milgis Lugga, and finally up Elkanto hill.. 65 kilometres!

DSC01523.JPG Pete , out practising, keeping his fitness up! DSC01527.JPG

DSC01551.JPG Hot dry country!

Why does Pete want to do it.. lots of people who have done this route with us on safari and taken 4 days, say hes crazy, but actually Pete wants to make a statement…

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The Milgis area was the home of some of the biggest majestic Elephants and the toughest Lions.. Twenty two years ago when I first started walking there you only saw Elephants running for their lives, after the terrible slaughter in the 70s and 80s.. There came a time when there were no Elephants left North of the Milgis Lugga, except on Marsabit Mountain.. If they hadn’t been shot, they had run for their lives further south, their families had been broken up, and they were lost.. Back then there was very little help for the Elephants in this area, and the poachers had a free ride.. NOT THIS TIME!!

Elephants walking in the lugga in the day time.. DSC01099.JPG DSC01598.JPG

We also truly believe that some of our Elephants are descendants of the Famous majestic Elephant called ‘Ahmed’, who lived to a ripe old age in Marsabit.. We need ours to live as long as he did and to have the chance to impress the world..

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20 years later.. THIS TIME WE ARE THERE AND MILGIS TRUST IS THERE!! We are determined to make sure it does not happen again.. But we need help from YOU! Over the last few years the Elephants have been slowly probing their way north again, checking out if its safe, and going back to their old haunts, special salt areas like near the Suguta valley, the best browsing areas, checking out the water situation, and they still are trying to go further North to Mt’s Nyiru and Kulal.. They have already made with caution, because they don’t forget, the Matthews Range, Milgis, Seiya and Parsaloi Luggas, and the Ndoto Mountains their home.. They are incredibly relaxed, and this is because we have worked hard to make people aware how important these animals are, AND of course how special and valuable they are alive!.. This time they are being pushed from the south, where the ones that managed to escape once sought safety!.. The pressure now is the human population, which is growing so fast.. Fences are being erected to keep the Elephants away.. Elephants need the space that the Milgis area can give them…

SO PLEASE WILL YOU ALL HELP US TO ACHIEVE THIS… Please support Pete’s wish to raise GOOD money for the Elephants and Lions in the Milgis Ecosystem, and north..

THE ROUTE….. Aug 08 152.jpg

Starting at Ngurnit , the most stunningly beautiful place, on the East side of the Ndotos.. Poi in the background.. He will walk past

August 2010 096.jpg the famous Aldera mountain.. On wards through Maragi, and the Keno valley.. This is Pete showing friends his route! He calls the sharp peak ‘the chicken’ , and beyond is the Matthews Range jan. 06 128.jpg

First sight of the Aug 08 259.jpg

Milgis Lugga .. Where it then cuts between the Matthews and Ndoto Mountains..

Up up the Milgis Lugga Dec 07 012.jpg

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To wards Elkanto.. Matthews on the Right and Ndotos on the left..

Nov 08 097.jpg And FINALLY ….

The 600 ft climb up ELKANTO…

If Pete does it.. We would ask any one who is willing and able to donate any thing with 65 in the amount for this very important cause… either through NWHS, (The donate button on this page goes strait to them) , or a cheque to Milgis Trust, Box 93, Naro Moru 10105, or a transfer to Milgis Trust account.. I can give you the details.. If he doesn’t make to at least sponsor him as far as he gets!..

PLEASE DON’T DISAPPOINT OUR PETE!!

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]

Drought is killing us in Northern Kenya

 We are trying to raise funds for a very important project

Vaccinating and ensuring the health of just one domestic dog in northern Kenya can help save a family from rabies, help protect their livestock from predators and in doing so prevent the predators from being hunted and killed.

Our aim to run a sustainable yet basic pilot mobile and stationary vaccination unit that will immunize a new class of community guard dogs, which will not only benefit the communities, wildlife and dogs but help balance and conserve the whole ecosystem by helping to resolve the human/wildlife conflict.

Please consider supporting this work.

We are experiencing a terrible drought in Northern Kenya. We are watching in dismay in the North, as the poor people are slowly loosing their stock, to disease and drought, but too proud to admit it.. Its amazing how brave they are.   iI is so difficult to blog with so much hardship around. Sadly our lions are definitely no more, at least the ones in the higher Milgis area, we have no idea how they died, as it is so thick the bush, but no more tracks or sounds. I am very sad about it, but you can’t win as they kept on taking stock every day. We are trying very hard to keep the wells open for the Elephants, so at least every one can have a drink. The poor desert warthogs are the real ones that are suffering. It’s  terrible shame.

Please support the project to vaccinate dogs and keep the project going    

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?

successful awareness campaign around the northern mountains…return the traditional conservation ways…

Before I start!… News on the cheetah cub is good, getting better… very playful…no more fits!!

This is written by the manager of the Milgis Trust… I like his traditional way of thinking… it may be quite long… but its interesting!!

Lately there has been a real increase in elephant’s movement to the north. For the first time in almost 30 years elephants visited Mpatpat area in the northern side of the Ndoto mountains, also keleswa to the west of the ndotos and are now permanently in Seren, Kasipo and Ura areas of the ndotos. A single elephant track was seen in the aparen area in the desert. He, the elders in the area said followed an old elephant route. This elephant could be a surveyor and could soon be leading others to this area. The north is now a strategically important region for the elephants as with the human population pressure and many fences being erected throughout Laikipia, the Elephants are beginning to feel safe in the north and are starting to “spread their wings”

It is because of this situation that our focus is on the north and a team of 9 scouts and the manager went for a 5 days awareness creation in the Ldonyo Mara area. The awareness involved community meetings, video shows and slides shows. The team conducted awareness in Tunguu, Arge, Kurungu, and Gorle and many informal stop overs in Keleswa, South Horr, Ngilai and Barsaloi.

All meetings started with a short traditional blessing, recited by one of the elders. The manager then introduced the Milgis team and the purpose of the meetings and started by telling the communities about the work Milgis Trust does, explaining why the conservation work is so important, and the communities that are trying will benefit from education, medical and water projects… The manager stressed that all these benefits are coming to the community because of wild animals. He then invited each of the scouts to talk about the animal he is named after. The approach is to talk about the animal, what it is like, and its importance in the Samburu community and its role in natural environment.

Elephants. Samburu.. Ltome . scouts name…Lentukunye.

He mentioned that elephants are the biggest land mammal. They can be friendly and will co-exist with human beings if not disturbed. He said they used to be almost everywhere within Samburu but were killed for ivory by the shiftas and the Lkishili generation of the Samburu, elders concurred on this and even pointed at places where some elephants were killed just near some of the meeting venues. He pointed out how important it is now to “welcome” them back in these areas.. They are under pressure in the south and they are starting to look for places where they can be safe, probing old routes and our predictions are that very soon they will be here in ldonyo mara, and Mt Nyiru.. We are here to announce their return so that you are prepared for them. He cautioned them that when the elephants return, please do not shout or shoot at them this makes them wild.. We have had reports from Ura that elephants are destroying trees. Of course they are a big animal and need food so they will break trees… thats their food…, but if they are not scared they do less damage…

Importance to the community; the manger asked the community what they know as the importance of elephants to their culture and the following were mentioned.

  • When a Samburu marries the first fire is lite using elephant dung.
  • Some families can not conduct circumcision ceremonies without a piece of ivory
  • Elephants are useful in opening up routes in bushy areas
  • Creation of water pans
  • Seeds dispersal….

Lion, Lng’atuny—-Lolokuria

The lion is the king!! Please respect him!!…. Although we know the lion kills our livestock we need to take care of them, we must conserve wild animals so that the lion can find food in the bush. If you take your livestock into the bush, and you see predator tracks, or the birds warn you, then you are the one that needs to take precaution.. We need to avoid giving our livestock to very young children to look after, and at night we need to make proper fences around our homes to prevent them from getting in.

There used to be many lions in the old days but now there is serious reduction due to introduction of poisons, said an elder; though we use to kill lions with spears the impact was not as serious as the use of poison. We should stop using poison and report any person who uses it.

Importance to the community; one elder said though the lion is a killer to our livestock it is very important in our culture as follows

  • No ritual can be conducted without a lion’s skin, be it marriage, or circumcision.
  • If lions were not there wild animals would be too many and we would not get enough grass for our livestock.

Wild pig ,Lguiya…..Letura

The wild pig is similar to the warthog but according to the Samburu it is blessed, because of its colouring. This animal did not exist in many places but has been on the increase in the recent years and is now found in many places. There is no serious threat to him as the Samburu do not eat its meat. However destroying its habitat is a problem for any wild animal..

Importance to the community;

  • The wild pig skin is used to make colours for cow’s bells.
  • Its teeth are used as totems for certain families.

Grevys Zebra…Loibor kurum..Lenegwesi

This is one of the most endangered animals. Though the Samburu do not eat it’s meat loss or competition for essential resource is causing the deaths. This wild ass is endemic to the northern part of the country and the Samburu should be happy and feel lucky to have them within their area. The elders pointed out that they still have a lot of the grevys in the desert but they said the problem is water shortage.

Importance to the community;

  • Early warning system. When the nomads do not see grevys where they are usually found they know something is not normal, either enemies or predators are there.
  • Zebra hide is used as medicine for a certain cow disease caused by rats.

Gerenuk, Riko …..Lemagas

This is also a rare species. He asked how many people have never seen a gerenuk, the response was that all have seen but immediately said nowadays not so often. They said after the recruitment of a scout in the area there has been an increase and two months ago they came to feed on acacia pods near the villages. He said when he was young the elders use to say a prayer to NGAI that the herders, and travellers would stumble over an animal that has been killed by a predators. He says these days this is rare, and we must reverse this… He told them that should the gerenuk be extinct predators will be coming after the livestock.

  • It is believed that if you keep a gerenuk with your goats you will become very wealthy.

The manager talked on general conservation in the area and asked the community to be serious on conservation as they are very lucky, they still have what the rest of the world does not have. They need to take conservation very seriously because the human population is increasing and very soon there will be no enough space to keep livestock in large numbers. He asked them to revert to their culture which was very rich in conservation education. Traditionally the Samburu have systems that ensure ecosystem balance. The Samburu have put in place taboos that prohibit the killing or eating of meat from certain wild animals and even cutting of certain trees. The elders in the meeting gave the following feed back on these taboos

Traditional conservation mechanisms of the Samburu

The Samburu community prohibits the killing and eating of meat from the following animals;

  • All grey looking animals, donkeys, lesser kudu, wild pigs, elephants, rhinos, dikdik, hare, klipspringer, female ostrich
  • All black animals and birds, male ostrich, wild dogs, crows,
  • All gazelles with black patches on the sides, Thomson gazelles,
  • It is a taboo for grown ups to kill a young animal that is still dependant on the parents or to kill a lactating animal. Usually young boys are allowed to kill them because it is known that they rarely succeed.

The manager cautioned that this culture is slowly eroding and is part of the cause for the disappearance of wild animals in the area.

He then browsed through the following areas which he said will be part of the video and slides shows.

Erosion…… Pastoralists are entirely dependant on the environment for survival. The livestock that they depend on for food entirely depend on the environment. Conserving the environment for the pastoralists is conserving their life. Destroying the vegetation is the major cause of soil erosion. Vegetation is destroyed in the following ways

  • Over grazing…keeping too many livestock
  • Careless cutting of trees— for fencing, for fodder
  • Forest fires
  • Human settlement-clearing land for farming.

Traditionally it is a taboo to completely cut or fell a tree, “in the old days if by mistake one cuts all branches of a tree a goat is slaughtered and fat is poured round that tree trunk”, said an elder. This culture is disappearing as sights of huge trees cut down are all over. It is important that we encourage these positive cultural practises. The main reason given for the destruction of the environment is livestock survival, the manager urged the community to start thinking of keep fewer livestock that have better value in terms of milk production and meat so that they can fetch better returns. He showed the community clips showing the effects of soil erosion in many parts of the district and warned that if they don’t take care their area will soon be affected too.

Fires…. The manager also talked about forest burning and the dangers that it causes to human survival. He gave examples of many places that used to have flowing rivers and now among the driest areas in the district. The elders gave further places and one elder of the Nkimaniki age group said when they were youths, about 1950s there was plenty of water everywhere unlike this days. The manager stressed that the main cause of water shortage is destruction of the catchments areas in the mountains especially by fires. He showed clips of fires destruction in the milgis lugga.

Human wildlife conflict……. In many incidents conflicts with predators is caused by human negligence or carelessness. Some of the circumstances that can lead to conflict are as follows;

  • Poor/improper fencing
  • Not taking precautions with livestock in dangerous places
  • Using young children to look after livestock
  • Leaving livestock to stray.

We desire to see a community that grazes their livestock with the wildlife together. In this way the community will start to benefit from both the livestock and the wildlife. The moment we start benefiting from wildlife then we will start to love them.

Conclusion…. The general feeling of the community was very positive and awareness on conservation is low but with very high expectations on immediate benefits of conservation. The leaders in the area were positive and already involved in the conservation effort through Lonjorin conservation group, which is in the early stages of forming a conservancy.

Our patrol trip to the sitan area of the desert was very good and there were many tracks of gazelles and grevy zebra in the lower muran area. This area needs another trip in the future especially Lonjorin area.

So much going on I can’t keep up!!

As I’ve said before… Nomadic communities, to put up with living with wildlife has it trials and tribulations… There are numerous reports from the scouts of predators of all kinds killing the peoples goats, cows, and camels… Elephants break their wells, that have taken them hours to dig, they tear down trees, when we are telling every one not to cut them!!…etc… All those ” bad ” things that wild animals do!!!… So people need to see benefits, or they will not see the point in looking after them… We do camel safaris through out this area, and we pay camping and conservation fees to the communities, and lots of people get employment, but we are not big enough for every one to benefit…Other wise there is very little tourism in the area… Its maybe too remote…[suits me!] Anyway the Milgis Trust has many other projects… Schools, employing teachers, water development, we help with many health problems… It all seems to be happening at the moment…

The SOLAR PANELS ARE IN FINALLY!!…Justus O, Karen B, Nora L, Robert S, and Charlotte B…Thank you all of you from all the Elders, Women and Milgis Pre-School Students from Ilgwe Eldome for giving them water again… Nobody in this wild area ever in their wildest dreams thought that somebody could cut the frame and get away with 4 big solar panels… Although there was somebody looking after them he wasn’t too serious, they had no idea they were so valuable… To them they look like a piece of magic glass, that takes water out of a well and pumps it 4 kms up a hill… !! We are sure it must have been some visiting tradesmen who took them…This issue became a huge problem in the community… When Diane Terry from Private Journeys, came on safari in July they could not stand it either and pledged the money!! Thanks so much…But what a palaver getting them up there in their metal cast so that nobody can steal them again….. So we do apologise that it has taken so long…. The elders waited all day, while they were being installed so that they could put a spell on the panels, in there own way…We now have two serious watchmen!!…

Elders fasinated in the proceedings!.JPG The elders came to say a special prayer to stop the solar panels from ever being stolen again…

We are building TWO new class rooms, one in Latakwen, and one at the Milgis School… Plus a store for the MS and we have fenced the school, with live comifera trees…65 Women did it in one day… All thanks to TOTO TRUST UK….

This week the water will be in Latakwen…Thanks to the VOSS foundation… The community are digging the one and a half km trench from the well to the town, schools and dispensary… All residents of the area have been given there quota of digging… great team spirit… I don’t dare try to put more photos on this page…

Three children were picked up by aircraft yesterday!!… thanks to East African Air Charters, and MEAK [ Medical and Educational Aid] and taken to Nairobi… Two with heart problems, and the other was the girl who was shot through her mouth… Dee Belliere of MEAK has decided that she needed further care and took her to the amazing Bethany children’s hospital in Kijabe for further treatment… Today she is undergoing a big operation.. Thanks to all…

Lastly… But very important for Milgis every day operations..VHF BASE RADIO moves to a higher hill for better communications…We are moving the radio room to a hill that is almost 1000 feet higher than Elkanto, just across the Parsaloi Lugga…. We need better communications to our VHF Radios to the North, and the radio will be on all day and all night…All the materials are being carried up with manpower!, or camels if they can, fit them on… Water and food will be delivered once a week by camel… Thank you Shikar Safari Club Foundation..for helping.. especially in our endeavour to see the Elephants safely home to the Northern mountains…

Finishing the roof of the New radio house...jpg Tyeing the makuti [ palm thatch] on the New radio house on Orok Onyuki hill…The North end of the Ndoto mountains in the distance…The view from this hill is fabulous… I want to be the radio operator!!….