Category Archives: Livestock

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..

Going home with a ”spring in their stride!!”… with the Elephants following!!

After many months away from home ‘on the run’ literally, looking for grazing to keep their herds, ( their fortune ) alive, the Rendille and Samburu from the East side of the Ndoto/Matthews and Marsabit are on there way home!… Its a wonderful sight!! A GREAT RELIEF…

DSC02217.JPG Camels

Thousands and thousands of Livestock animals again on the move.. This time going East!.. back home..

Cows, and goats and sheep, in their thousands are heading back to wards their homeland.. across the Kaisut Desert to Marsabit, Kargi, Korr, and beyond..

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Donkeys loaded to the hilt! return (6).JPG

The only thing that is left behind is hundreds of these empty bomas!

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This is what caused it!.. Rain… and plenty of it!!

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What an absolute relief for every one.. WHAT A SIGHT!!.. Watching the people from the ‘desert’ go home with totally positive thoughts… The noise is extraordinary… the bells, the singing from the warriors, the laughing and joking as they pass by! The tiny baby Goats, Camels and Calves all lagging behind crying out for their mothers, but the people taking it all in their stride, coaxing them along and stopping for them to feed the moment they get too far behind..

The long road home… the marks in the sand left by their hooves..

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They’ve many many kms to go !… This time they will do their best to leave nobody behind, a luxury they did not have on their way here.. You can’t wait for the weak when in a drought, but now its rained they have no more worries!…LONG LIVE THE BEAUTIFUL PASTORAL LIFE!

With them are the Elephants… They aren’t going home they are looking for new browse, they love to go East into the lower Milgis when its wet.. What is nice is the People going East with them have managed very well to live together with the wildlife, particularly the elephants.. So they all go down the Milgis together..

DSC01795.JPG Elephants and Camels all living and eating together.. This is one of Milgis Trust’s most important messages.. WE CAN LIVE TOGETHER!!

DSC01813.JPG Big herds of Elephants passing below the Milgis Base.. ..

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I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!.. the Elephants and the shadows…

It seems these days its all or nothing!??

The only reason for us to believe there is a drought in North/Eastern Kenya is because I keep on getting concerned emails from all of you out there asking how we are fairing, and that we continue to see our friends from the Marsabit mountain, and the Kaisut Desert and beyond coming in their hundreds and thousands to the Milgis and past.. Its an amazing sight!!

DSC00963.JPG more stock on the move…

DSC00956.JPG Neighbours for the night!, the wonderful singing from the warriors, ringing through out the night..

DSC01038.JPG Onward! and Forward to greener pastures..

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On our last safari we came across wall to wall cows being watered in the Suiyan lugga.. most of them are the ones that had passed us last month! Rendille on the move.. Unbelievable sight !! We estimated it was around 10,000 cows, with thousands of Warriors.. Each warrior singing to call his own group of cows to his water hole, that he has dug in the sand.. A sight that will stay with me forever.. Its impossible to get pictures of this, I wouldn’t put it past one of them to take a pot shot at me!, but just the odd pic., that we managed to steel!, just to show you!!

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Unbelievably two days later we find them on the move again!, heading higher into the hills, all of us using the Mighty Milgis lugga as a high way..

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Through out the safari once again the Acacias are blooming, They were right! AGAIN!!

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Every where we looked the Acacias were flowering.. This mountain side is covered in Acacia Melifera, the honey Acacia.. The Aroma in the air is DELICIOUS.. Like the last time!! We were warned by the Flowering Acacias…

DSC01174.JPG Just too delicately beautiful!

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DSC01330.JPG The snakes are moving too!!.. INTERRESTING!!!

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Later on that day… Our highway is beginning to look Dangerous!

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No sooner were we off the Lugga, and round the corner came the water… WOW!! IT WAS EXCITING!!

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P1150552.JPG This was the fastest and angriest flood I’ve ever seen..

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The only way to describe it is its like a Tsunami.. Any thing in its path is destroyed.. We heard of 18 camels that got washed away..

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P1150602.JPG 4pm 11th August..

DSC01487.JPG 7 am 12 August!

The next morning!! Our highway is back to normal!!

So to answer all your questions about how we are fairing !?! Actually very well, and never a dull moment up here in Northern Kenya.. We measured 39 mm of rain at Elkanto, half the hill was washed away!! The grass is growing, the trees are green, and things are good.. There is still water in the luggas, and our happiest Friends are the Elephants!! Absolutely delighted..

DSC00997.JPG lots of glorious mud!

P1150893.JPG And food!

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..

Toyota landcruiser is on the Milgis wish list!.. but don’t run away?? PLSE read on….

All pics fr Lesoloyia Nov 09 156.jpg This fabulous bull died in July 09.. REASON.. conflict over water in the drought.. He was shot at, and died many days later from his wounds.. Tooooo sad.. This picture is here to show you the size of the one that died in Seren.. Killed by poachers..

Its a sad time for us.. We have let one of our beautiful Elephants down.. Last week we had our first really serious/professional, if you can call it that, Elephant poaching incident north of the Ndoto Mountains a beautiful ‘Sangilai’ or lone bull was shot dead, his tusks removed, (not by a Samburu I’m sure), with a saw at Seren… Only 5 years ago he would not have been in this area because he was still warey of what happened 30 years ago, but because we have given them security they have been feeling braver, and going to places that they used to be frightened of.. So have we failed in our duty??… Of course not.. because our 22 scouts ( we need more) can’t be every where all the time and we are covering a huge area.. But its woken us up, not only us, but all the communities, and KWS!.. On hearing the news, our scouts rushed to the scene, but for most of them it was 1 to 2 days walk.. Too slow for this kind of emergency.. I’m sure you’ll agree.. We know who did it, and it is being followed up and ‘no stone will be left unturned’, by our scouts nor by KWS.. What we really really need now is a vehicle, a reliable one where we can move quickly!

Each time I write a blog to try to raise money, I always notice theres abit of silence on the comments!! I’m sure you are all having a fit at this one! A new Toyota Landcruiser is no exception, it is around $ 50000 .. But with in 6 months of writing my wishes, each time somebody quietly perks up with the money!! The vet. project P9272444.jpg‘QUALITY V QUANTITY!)
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water harvesting programme, nov 10 039.jpg written about in my last blog are good examples… We now have the money, and its for us to implement them!! So here we go.. But we now need a vehicle to keep up..

Why do we need a vehicle… Doesn’t every one walk in the Milgis area ?? Yes I agree but for example with this poaching incident we needed to move fast!! With the trust gaining momentum, the manager needs a vehicle to follow up on all Wildlife work, and to keep up with all the other programmes to keep the people ‘on the same ship’, and keep them involved in conserving their land and their wildlife!! ..

As I mentioned earlier our livestock veterinary project is financed for 3 years.. We are very very grateful to Rupert Watson for believing in us and organising the funds… In short we have many plans, but most importantly is to try improve the quality of the livestock, by !encouraging! the pastoralists who are experts in livestock husbandry, but have their short falls.. like *keeping too many animals in over grazed areas, and the *wrong usage of modern drugs, being two important problems… *Controlling outbreaks of disease.. This camel died of hemorrhagic septacaemia.. a perfectly healthy animal was dead in 12 hours.. August 2010 126.jpg To lose a camel like this with a disease that can actually be controlled is unforgivable.. Forget how much it is worth to the stock man..We want to try to contain the problem, not have so many animals die, and hopefully not let it spread to the wild animals, who seem to be so easily taken out when there is an outbreak.. Especially lately the lesser kudu, and Dikdiks.. The other advantages of this programme… *Working out a better system than just breeding, and breeding and not selling, then finding they loose so many animals in a drought! *Stemming the terrible erosion.. *Encouraging the keeping of camels, P9212303.jpg who only browse, and their feet do so much less damage to the environment.. *This dog has terrible mange, the warrior really loves his dog, sony jan 10 340.jpg but has no way to treat it. The dog is his watch man, warns him of predators, and looks after his cows..

*Giving dogs a better future by vaccinating against rabies and and treating worms etc, so that they can in turn be more active in warning of predators.. It would also mitigate the terrible fear of rabies the Samburu people have..

sony jan 10 322.jpg We wanted to inject this dog, but it had never been handled, so this is how they dealt with the problem.. Shame…

This Donkey was downed by a hyena, P9242439.jpg it took the hyena 2 minutes to inflict this damage.. The owner was ready to kill all the hyenas in the area.. We tried to help, but we were on safari, so could not continue the treatment.. Our resident vet can help with many situations like this..

Again there is no stopping to how this programme can grow, and the important thing is to believe that Wildlife and People can live in the same place! hard to believe when you see this Donkey, but if there had been a healthy dog around to look after the animals in the Koral, it would not have happened..

Last but NOT least.. The people in this area deserve good medical attention, and we can say thank you to MEAK for this..

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The Clinic in Latakwen is fully functional now with a full time nurse, who is always on standby for medical problems or emergencies.. The only thing we need is a vehicle to transport patients when she can’t deal with the situation!

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This lad came in with Madura foot.. There is no way he could walk to hospital… 100 kms. He will probably have to have his foot amputated, only because he found help too late….

There are many links to other blogs here ,please try and check them out…

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..

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    

Droughts come in ten year cycles, but each time its worse…

Why?…. I suppose its because there are more people on the world??….. IE More trying to live off less… In Northern Kenya we can expect a pretty bad drought every ten years, but its worse each time… And this time its no exception… I’ve just come back from another beautiful safari in the Matthews, we climbed to the top, but we could not avoid seeing the people and animals enduring hard times…. And doing more damage just to stay alive… As in the pictures below…

tree cut down for livestock.jpgvaluable tree cut to keep hungry livestock alive...jpg

Two valuable trees cut down for hungry livestock to try to keep them alive… But then what will they eat tomorrow?… We have so much work to do on this issue..

During our safari we saw plenty of Elephants, but every time one could not but think … Where is the nearest water?, for this beautiful herd of Elephants… Most of the wells we came across are over 20 feet deep, not even a chance for them, but we found flowing mountain water, thanks to the beautiful forest above on the slopes of the Matthews range, in the Ngare Narok Lugga, where the De Brazza monkeys frequent.. Indeed two herds of Elephants came into drink, at the same time, just behind our camp, plenty of trumpeting went on, which made our little camp with the camels all hobbled abit restless!!..

Strangler fig in Newtonia...jpg Huge tree in the Matthews range… Strangler fig, growing up a Newtonia..

Below is a positive note from a geologist who comes out to Kenya a lot… and he seems to be giving us some bright news!

Lets look at the forecasts at the Climate Prediction Centre and the
International Research Institute for Climate and Society. We are
currently moving into an El Nino year, slightly anomalous sea-surface
temperatures in the W Pacific, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation is
coupled with the Indian Ocean Dipole that influences E African
rainfall. They are not yet sure about the strength of the El Nino if
it comes later this year. El Nino means more intense short (oct-nov)
rains for most parts of E Africa. The prediction maps do not show any
difference in the rains from other years except for Oct-November where
there is a 40% probability of heavier rains in this time of the year.
Well, get an umbrella soon!!!

Our Milgis Trust website has been updated, If any of you have got time to read whats going on, it out lines all our plans and goals…

Finally a little note on how Pete is doing!! Hes walking!!… But the Doctor is still working on getting all the dead tissue, killed by the Snakes poison, out of his foot… What a palaver… but hes in good spirits, and looking forward to getting back to the bush…