Category Archives: Mt Nyiru

Frozen Elephants?

In May 2010, we were camping on the South side of Mt Nyiru, when one of the Samburu came and asked me if I had seen the Frozen people…… What on earth was he talking about? So off we went to check it out!..

to find the rest of the story please go to the ‘The Milgis Journal’

http://milgistrust.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/frozen-elephants-or-elephant-matywooins/

And this is the main link http://milgistrust.wordpress.com/

If you would like to be reminded each time I write a blog, please follow these instructions!! On the left hand column of the homepage of the Milgis Journal there is a button called FOLLOW US HERE – above that button is a box where you can write in your email address. Write in your email address and then press the button FOLLOW US HERE –

Elephant Matywooins?

sorry but for some reason I can not get the pictures to go on? I have tried again under a different title but still the same..

Opening Eyes for the Elephants…

HORR VALLEY NOVEMBER 2nd to the 9th 2012 Milgis/MEAK Eye mission KINDLY SPONSORED by Andrew Prudnell Bruce, Ina Astrup and friends…

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This lovely Lady on the left was completely blind in both eyes, and was brought into Ngurnit in 2007.. He she is now leading another blind person in to the Mission at South Horr!

As I have mentioned many times!, the Elephants want to return to their old haunts, and Mt Nyiru is one of their favourite areas… But they are taking it very carefully as 40 years ago every single Elephant on this beautiful Mountain, and paradise for these animals, was killed by poachers.. One of The Milgis Trusts aims is to see them back safely.. This does not ‘just happen’, as there are many obstacles to tackle… One big one is the People in this area have forgotten how to live with these Gentle Giants, so NOW need to be gently reminded!..( Actually 40 years ago they probably weren’t so gentle as they were being annihilated, now they are cool!, and are ONLY looking for a safe place to live) No better way to get your message across, than to get into the communities personally and talk to them.. So why not give them a present while your at it! Give as many blind people in the area their sight back!

This a small collection of pictures taken during the week in South Horr, that says it all..

ARRIVING.. Any one with an eye problem is welcome..

DSC01294.JPG This woman is completely blind..

DSC01335.JPG The vehicles go out to the whole area and collect every one that has been screened by Daniel learaman, our warrior EYE man who can identify Cataracts and Trachoma

DSC01344.JPG After a long drive through the Chalbi desert this man takes a loooong drink.. hopefully the trip here will be worth it and he will go home with his sight..

DSC01171.JPG THIS IS STAKWELLS SPORT CENTRE IN SOUTH HORR, now turned into a eye centre!

Every one gets their Eyesight tested first ..

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Then to see the Doctor.. Dr George Odiambo Ohito, who came up with the LIONs team from Loresho Eye Hospital.. Carol, Grace, and Macharia, plus Jerry and Phylistas, DSC01186.JPG

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This poor girl below, had to have her eye removed.. But at least she will be much more comfortable..

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DSC01210.JPG The man on the left has a wonderful story… He is a Rendille man, a great character, who has been travelling for several years by foot down to wards Tanzania, buying and selling cattle.. He was on his way home finally, and was walking down the Milgis Lugga, on his way back to Korr, when he heard that there was an eye doctor coming.. He jumped on the car, and has not looked back..He had his cataract removed, and now will spread the conservation messages far and wide!!

DSC01208.JPG Lesoloyia, the Milgis Manager making up amusing soft banter at the gateway into the surgery room, so as to calm every one down!!

The scary room where it all happens,

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But they’re soon out, being carefully lead to a place to rest by our scouts..

DSC01358.JPG This woman has just had a cataract removed..

DSC01369.JPG Looking for her shoes!.. She had Bilateral TPR, as a result of Trachoma.. The Eye lashes turn into their eye and scratch until they lose the eye.. One of our main aims is to eradicate this problem.. see below..

Resting after the operation..

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DSC01366.JPG A child from the desert enjoying a a square meal.. Her Mother had a Bilateral cataracts..

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The Kitchen.. There was 6 girls and many volunteers who worked tirelessly cooking and looking after their every need around the clock, for the patients!

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Grubs up!!

DSC01280.JPG After a long Journey somebody went around and helped every one wash there hands.. Luxury!! At home they probably don’t have enough water for this…

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DSC01244.JPG these three Lady’s enjoying seeing their meal!

DSC01242.JPG At least my lovely woman had a nice meal while she was there!

Early morning cup of tea, before the Doctor comes to remove the bandages..

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DSC01314.JPG this little girl came in from kargi , she has cataracts and was referred to Nairobi.. Her grandmother accompanied her .. She had 2 cataracts done..

The wonderful happy stories after their patches are removed are special..

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Dr George did 214 operations in the week.. 182 Cataracts, and 28 Tprs and 4 others! 4 children were referred to Nairobi..

I love this picture below, its my old Rendille friend telling all the new comers from Kargi, thats all going to go well.. We had nobody in the building who could speak the language! So wasn’t it lucky he was there!

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A Huge amount of THANKS to MEAK,

DSC01381.JPG and by the way… this woman had a broken arm and came to find help… Can you believe it MEAK had an orthopaedic mission going on at the same time in Nanyuki, so she was rushed off to Nanyuki in an aeroplane, two days later she was smiling with gratefulness!!

PARAMOUNT ‘THANKS’ to Andrew and Sophie Prudnell Bruce, and Ina Astrup and all other contributers for raising the funds for this amazing mission..

Thankyou Beverly Othwein for being there for us,

LIONS Loresho Eye Hospital,

Samburu Sports Centre, and Stakwell.. who was unbelievably kind to the hundreds of people that came, and was helpful every where..

The many volunteers who worked tirelessly..

Marwell Wildlife, for lending an extra vehicle to collect the patients..
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Tropicair, for bringing the Doctors and Nurses up to South Horr for costs only..

Also so many thanks to Isabel Wilcox for all the support you give to the Latakwen Dispensary, and Rita Lekisaat pictured above with Supukan Lesoloyia, the Milgis Trust Manager..

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Daniel learaman, who is kindly sponsored by Jane Furse has spent the last year walking the entire area that the Milgis trust operates in and further , tying to explain to people that they need to wash there faces, in order to stop the flies laying eggs on their eye lids… The awful suffering,Trachoma that follows is not kind to any one..

Thanks to all!!

The Milgis is roaring!

In more ways than one!! Scouts working hard, and Elephants happy, Tractor going strong, Schools going well, Sponsor kids back at school, etc, etc but perhaps today the most important bit of news, on this one year anniversary since Pete’s mega walk on Oct 15th 2011…. IT IS RAINING in Northern Kenya!!.. Soooo Exciting..

DSC00891-001.JPG This picture was taken last week as we walked up the Milgis Lugga, on our way home from a safari from Ngurnit.. *it was hot, really HOT!.. The signs for rain were looking good!.. Not a cloud in the sky in this picture, but thats the last thing to happen out here!..

DSC00900.JPG *The winds blowing up the Milgis Lugga between the Matthews and Ndotos have been very impressive… The white in the picture above is the sand being picked up.. Its looks like a mirage, but it is sand, and it really stings your legs!..

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That same afternoon, we played a football match on the beautiful flat sand of the Barsaloi Lugga.. Actually it was one of the funniest football matches I’ve ever watched.. Samburu V Norwegians… The score was a draw, at least we thought it was .. Every one was laughing so much.!! ..

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One week later ….. This is what the Milgis lugga looks like today!!!… A roaring, raging muddy river !!.. Thats where we were walking one week ago…

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*But again we had plenty of warning as the flowering Acacias were absolutely fabulous..

DSC00569-001.JPG Acacia Melifera.. The Honey Acacia in flower as far as the eye can see..

*And of course whorl winds all over! DSC01074-001.JPG You can see the Acacia Melifera in flower in the fore ground..

DSC00518.JPG DSC00519.JPG The Aroma is extraordinary..

The Elephants were on the move again !!http://milgistrust.wildlifedirect.org/How on earth do the Elephants know its going to rain??

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*The wind storms in Kaisut desert were amazing.. Lifting red dust high into the sky.. *The Guinea fowl were singing the rain song… *The trees were all bursting into leaf.. *The 9th October morning the clouds arrived… So its all good in the Milgis… …(*signs of rain coming)

Other bits of good news….

Despite unbelievable winds, NO FIRES this year in the mountains and in the Luggas.. .. I am really proud to say that the message has got through, and apart from the odd accident its been an amazing dry season…

Mureya, now a beautiful young Rendille girl, and normal, but when we first met her, she was completely crazy.. She lost her Father and Mother, also her own baby in a cholera outbreak about 2 years ago… She met us on a safari back in August at Ngurnit, and it was a pitiful sight.. Moses Lesoloyia, held a kind hand out to her and invited her into the camp, gave her a cup of tea, and I think this was the first time she had felt kindness to her since she discovered her family were gone.. .. We sent her down to the Nakuru mental hospital, and with in a few days she was back home but this time with people who cared for her..

Just a couple of pictures of a beautiful Grevy Zebra, taken at Anderi, on the East side of Mt Nyiru… Isn’t it a magnificent Animal.. They’re only about 2700-3000 left in the whole world, and one of their biggest problems is getting to water in the dry season.. They walk miles and miles to find it.. Here all is good and the water was easily available to them..

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Masiketa are going to be the lucky ones for the next VOSS/Lena Bergum water project. What is the connection here of Lene Bergum and Masiketa.. Lena Maria Bergum was killed on Utoya Island in Norway, and her parents want a memory that means something… The people at Masiketa centre which is about 30 kms North of Elkanto, have been asking us for help with water for a long time, and this may be very fitting for the Bergum family .. This an amazing place because they live with the permanent stress of attacks from armed stock thieves, and yet people choose to live there.!! 6/11/08 heres a harrowing story.. not for the fainthearted though… Why do people choose to live there, with this permanent threat on their shoulders?? Because the grazing for their animals, their livelihood, and ‘bank’ is good.. There is a school, and a clinic there, plus a pretty good number of people..There isn’t a single family here that hasn’t lost, or had wounded a member of their family to the bullet.. But they are very resilient and always look forward to a new day!. There are times when many, many people come from far and wide ( as far as 200 kms away) to find grazing for their livestock.. Talking with Elders at tank site.JPG Heres Pete discussing with the Elders of Masiketa on where to put the main tank..

As I have mentioned several times in my blogs, the Elephants have this urge to get back to Mt Nyiru, which a few have done, but have returned to the Ndotos, because they are not sure… One of the biggest problems is because they have not been seen there in the last 40 years, every one wants to see them.. This of course makes them nervous.. We still have alot of work to do on this, and theres no better way than spending time, and creating awareness while helping people with their eye problems!.. The Milgis Trust in conjunction with MEAK will be doing another Eye mission up at South Horr on the 2nd of November for a week..

DSC00239.JPG In May last year this girl was almost blind, but thanks to MEAK and the Lions eye team she is back on the road..

Doctor George Ohito with 5 nurses from the L.I.O.N.S Eye Hospital will be there.. … We are hoping once again to reach out to many people who live in darkness but with a simple cataract operation, they will get their sight back.. Also many people with Tracoma need help.. Daniel Learaman ‘our Warrior eye man’ has screened far and wide, right up to Loiangalani and Mt Kulal to find patients who can be helped.. He has screened over a 1000 people, and he has 400 on his list!.. I am sure some people may chicken out but many will benefit.. Then I can get my bit in while they are recovering about the Wildlife, and Forests!!

Finally a great picture of an Elephant .. Its on the wall in a little road side shop in Ilaut.. There has not been Elephants here for 40 years.. This is a positive sign!

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again a huge huge THANKS to all who support the Milgis!..

WE ARE WINNING!!

By the way Our CD ‘Samburu Echos’ is nearly ready.. We are hoping to sell it to raise money for the Milgis Trust.. ‘Samburu helping Samburu’ through song… Next Blog will have all the info.. Its really beautifully done thanks to Gavin Hogg and Ben Evans, and many other generous people…..

Elephants can take the credit for less fires…

Hello every one…No I’m not dead, just been very busy travelling, or safariing as we say! DSC03472.JPG

For those that don’t already know this is how I make my living!.. Walking safaris through paradise and beyond with camels carrying the gear!..

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Loooong time since my last blog!! We have walked the length and breadth of the area that the Milgis Trust covers with our camels since December 2011… From Mt Nyiru in the north, a huge massif, just to the South East of Lake Turkana..

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DSC03606.JPG photo taken from the lovely grassy plains to the East of the Ndotos.. Ol Donyo Mara are the hills to the right

To Baio to the East, this amazing Mountain in the Kaisut desert catching the beautiful evening light..

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across the beautiful Ndoto Mountains.. sony jan 10 033.jpg 3 times!, Once from the South, then the North and then we went with the VOSS women to open the new water project at Urra in the foothills to the West of these magnificent mountains!
And lastly Lenkiyio (The Matthews).. Through the lovely forests and into the Ngeng valley.. jan. 06 025.jpg This is Matthews Peak

Over the top with the camels!!.. quite a feat..

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It has been absolutely fabulous to see for ourselves the good work the Milgis scouts are doing, and what we are achieving…(Now 28 scouts and 15 informers!!) AND I think we now have proof that the Elephants can take the credit for no fires burning on the Mountains!!.. Its absolutely wonderfull news!!.. Contrary to a news paper article saying that Elephants don’t like to climb mountains.. I don’t think its true actually!.. Because numerous times we have followed Elephants up very narrow and steep paths, and with out there good work we would be still cutting our way through!!

This dung up near Aldera rock proves it!!olympus oct 09 - jan 10 196.jpg

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IMG_0335.JPG And these paths is what they create… With out them this thick bush is impenetrable!! In the last 30 years because the Elephants weren’t around, all up the flanks of our valuable ‘Islands in the desert’ , the water towers of Northern Kenya, the bush became so thick that when the people could not get there animals up in to the mountains for dry season grazing they started lighting fires.. Absolute destruction beyond belief was happening, BUT now the Elephants are back this ridiculous passtime of burning, has has become a thing of the past I am happy to say.. Hip hip hooray!! AND

A HUGE ‘ONE UP’ FOR THE ELEPHANTS!!!

We have been watching in total dismay as Mt Kenya and the Aberdares, both National parks have been burning completely out of control.. Huge huge fires.. I don’t know how they started, or by who but they have been very serious, just for fun i took this picture on the 15th March, just before sunrise… DSC03737.JPG

The sun rose right over the top on this day!!

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Back to our Mountains the Ndotos and Lenkiyio (Matthews) and Nyiru.. Yes so far, there have been no fires and if you have been following my blogs you would know how desperate it has been in former years.. several Blogs on this terrible and stupid situation …Fires lit by people who have decided it would help to get rid of this very thick bush, and of course one just can ‘ Kiss goodbye ‘ to the whole side of the mountain.. With the strike of one match the Samburu have no idea what damage they are doing to their very own future.

If you don’t find time to read the others Please read this one blog I wrote way back to know how frustrated I was…Click on this….

‘Painted Wolf’ Bonanza!! & Thank you, Marwell..

Happy New Year to every one, and heres to a safe, and happy 2012 to all creatures great and Small.. … We celebrated our new year near the WILD Dog’s… What a pleasure !!!..

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These 3 pictures were taken by Lemagas, with an ordinary camera!!

DSC02914-1.JPG Inside their den…

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Then this little sequence of beauty’s with the night camera, in the same den!

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Theres at least 12 puppies, and maybe 14 adults

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We left the night camera in the den for a week, and found the dogs had, had a good chew on it!! But it still works..

DSC02950.JPG Painted wolves.. Thats a better name for these beautiful animals..

The Milgis Trust Thanks Marwell Wildlife and Zeke Davidson for your support.. Below is a small introduction by Zeke of the work we are doing together.. .. The technical side of things!.. ( Sorry his pictures would not post, so I’ve improvised with mine)

Hello to all the Milgis Trust Bloggers! I still feel new to the Milgis, but have been visiting here for the past 18 months or so now. I work with Marwell Wildlife, a Uk based charity dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and other natural resources. We achieve this through restoration of species and habitats, promoting sustainable living, and by inspiring change through science, education & public engagement – which is something of a mouthful!

grevy.JPG Marwells Speciality.. The Grevy Zebra.. Thanks to Marwell Zoo introducing us to these night cameras, they really opened our eyes.. Theres far more out there than one thinks, but its very nocturnal!! H

Suffice to say that when the trust approached Marwell in January 2010 with a request to look at “some data” they had, and help to get some monitoring established, we jumped at the chance to work with this dynamic, dedicated and intensely passionate team. The data is turning out to be a quietly understated GOLDMINE for conservation action. We will get to more on that in a few months time as we develop analyses out of the historic information we have in hand already. But I am sure I don’t need to explain the value of continuous sightings reports from 24 scouts making daily observations of wildlife in the Milgis ecosystem over the past 5 years! We hope to plot the return of elephants to the Milgis and beyond, to catalogue her amazing biodiversity and to provide information that will help people living here make real time decisions about conserving their environment, while maintaining their livelihoods and traditions in a timeless lifestyle that is still relevant today.

As we settle into 2012, we can happily say that the ground work has been laid for a long term partnership between Marwell and the Milgis Trust. We at Marwell are thrilled and feel really honoured, not to mention incredibly lucky, to have been sought out by Helen and her team. Over the past two years we have instituted regular training workshops for the growing force of scouts, ( now nearly 30, and 12 informers) we have standardised observation methodologies and entered the digital age by converting the data collection onto a computer based database.

And that is the real nub of this post, because not long ago we had word that our efforts to help Milgis Trust raise funds specifically for elephant conservation and research have been successful. In a phone call from their Head Quarters, the US Fish and Wildlife Service African Elephant Program confirmed that we had been successful in our grant application. We are now ready to begin a wide scale elephant conservation project, underpinned by the scouts and their data collecting activities, and the ongoing work of the trust.

This is hugely significant news. The focus on elephants will serve as a flagship to understanding not only how the Milgis functions, but how all her species use the land, her resources and coexist alongside the pastoralist Samburu people who live there too. Elephants have lead the way for our partnership and just as the young ones follow the old matriarchs back to Mt. Nyiru and beyond, we will follow them too. Learning from their travels which habitats are most important, which areas need close protection, which water points are their old standbys for crossing the barren lands and how we can ensure their permanence now that they have returned.

wider area bgs-3.jpg The area the Milgis Trust covers.. remember wildlife does not know borders, so the scouts follow their migrations.. There are NO fences, and these important water towers are needed to keep the Fauna and Flora well watered and fed!

This elephant project will focus on conserving habitat connectivity for African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations in Northern Kenya , and will be the most northerly based elephant conservation study in East Africa. So this work is a vital expansion of the direct efforts being brought to bear on the global conservation of African elephants. As Helen has always maintained, elephants have historically inhabited this ecosystem, although were absent for several years from the mid 1980’s until more recently thanks to poachers. By formally undertaking research and monitoring on these mega herbivores we will maintain the area as a holistically functioning ecosystem, without fences or segregation between wildlife and local pastoral communities. This area is an important migratory corridor between the complex of protected areas in the south, (Laikipia and Samburu, Buffalo Springs and wildlife reserves), the Marsabit Massif to the north east (the northern extent of the Samburu-Laikipia elephant population) and Mt Nyiru ( in the north west.)

However, much of this information is still based solely on local anecdotal knowledge. To ensure that it is accepted by both the communities and planning authorities we will have to put the Milgis elephant highways on the map with irrefutable data. In spite of the serious depletion in elephant numbers since the late 1970s, this area is currently home to the second largest elephant population in Kenya. The area is extremely isolated geographically, and elephants are facing several threats, including, among st others; intensifying habitat loss and fragmentation owing to the expanding human population, severely limiting climatic conditions, persecution by commercial ivory poaching and indiscriminate and illegal killing..

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The Milgis Trust Elephant Project (MTEP) will be continuing to investigate this human/elephant conflict and the spatial dynamics of the population through the established network of Milgis scouts and engaging pastoralists in a programme of community based conservation activities. The project will seek to understand elephant habitat use and behaviour, sustainability and conservation in remote northern areas, and will also engage local communities in education workshops and participatory planning, in an effort to increase awareness, involvement and ownership of elephant conservation. In this way we are building a legacy of community based conservation and management with less dependence on foreign aid and external funding. These are tried and tested methods that have been used with great success in areas such as the Ruaha wilderness in Tanzania where large carnivores have had a reputation of man eating, the Tsavo-Amboseli Ecosystem in Kenya where lion guardians are recruited from the Maasai warrior caste who have historically hunted lion as a rite of passage, and for the long term protection of mountain gorillas in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, to name just three examples.

Already we have begun to build a detailed Geographic Information System (GIS), or electronic map, to be able to visualise the landscape the Milgis elephants are using..The urgency for providing scout training is growing as increasing elephant presence in these areas might potentially also increase the opportunity for conflict with people and livestock. Conflict is chiefly anticipated over water availability, especially during times of drought. It is therefore vital that the Trust’s operations continue to promote elephant conservation to local communities whilst increasing community awareness of the benefits of elephants.

You might wonder what the trade off for living with elephants would be to a family living in a simple manyatta right in among st these giants. Well, local communities have already expressed positive attitudes to wards elephants as they are perceived to provide essential benefits to their pastoral lifestyles. There are many examples, but just one here, they maintain open routes through dense bush and provide access to mountain grazing areas. This access facilitates sustainable grazing as herds of livestock can be relocated to allow lowland areas to recover during dry seasons. Until recently these areas had been lost to community grazing management as elephants had been absent from the area for many years. The people were now turning to burning, to beable to get their livestock into the mountains, with devastating results. However, with the elephants gradual return, these valuable resources are slowly becoming available again. This observation comes directly from the people living in the Milgis area and is a key reason why the Trust has established this project. This work is a direct response to the communities request for assistance in securing their livelihoods and forms part of the Trusts commitment to improving resources through conservation action.

All this is a very neat fit for Marwell’s conservation goals through the restoration of species and habitats, promoting sustainable living, and inspiring change through science, education & public engagement! But you can follow all that on www.marwell.org.uk and on Twitter and Facebook too.

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]

Elephants dare to climb Mt Nyiru…

DSC00654-1.jpg Mt Nyiru from the south…

Around 40 years ago a terrible slaughter of Elephants, and other wildlife took place on Mt Nyiru, the massive mountain to the South East of Lake Turkana,, where the Samburu say god ( Ngai ) lives… The Elephants were poached until there were none left… Some escaped, but many, many were killed, their ivory smuggled out… 2 generations of people living up on this mountain have not seen Elephants… Today ‘The Milgis Trust’ has some very good news!… Nyiru, has been graced with the Elephants return, 3 of them in March this year… They did not stay long, but they found out something they have been wanting to know for so long!… MT NYIRU IS SAFE FOR ELEPHANTS AGAIN!! For the last 3 years our scouts have been reporting that the odd Elephant had been seen heading north of the Ndoto mountains, but always turned round… Our scouts think that apart from not knowing what will happen when they get to Nyiru, lack of water en route is a big problem, which Milgis Trust with the help of the International Elephant Foundation is addressing at present.. The local people think, even hope, that these 3 Elephants have gone back to collect the rest of the herd, as they found things to be very peaceful in the forest, at Gosi Gosi.!.. 2 went back past Kurungu, and to the East of the Ol Donyo Mara range, and 1 ‘Sangalai ‘ ( lone bull ) returned via a route to the south.. This bull has been has now been seen in the North end of the Ndotos…

Mt Nyiru May 2010.JPG Mt Nyiru… Very steep to Climb!!..

The amazing thing is the route they used to climb the mountain, from the Horr valley is the one that has not been used by any one for years!!.. Some Samburu maidens went out to collect firewood, but found some very strange ‘car tracks’, on the path, so came running home to tell the men… Who were amazed to see Elephant tracks!… The Elephants followed the track that they used to use, before they were savagely decimated way back in the 1960s-80s… The Samburu people, who are very excited about this new development were amazed that they remembered the way!…

may 10 206.jpg ‘PARADISE FOR ELEPHANTS’ The Forest…

With fences going up all over the place further south, and with the recent Elephant fence being erected, across Laikipia, to ease human/Elephant conflict, it is nice to know that the Samburu people on Nyiru are happy to see their friends back… It is also mind blowing that the Elephants remember these special mountains in Northern Kenya, The Matthews, Ndotos, Mt Nyiru, and Kulal.. Its great that they are able to escape the human encroachment further south! Mt Nyiru, which is the 3rd one in these magnificent ‘Islands in the desert’, has suffered from terrible fires, lit by people who misunderstand the repercussions, either burning to clear the thick bush, and hoping to increase the grazing for their cattle, or to open up the forest so the cattle can move.. The Milgis Trust scouts keep explaining, actually this can be done by the Elephants, and very well, as they have discovered in the Ndotos!!

ONE OF MILGIS TRUSTS AIMS IS TO HELP THE SAMBURU CONSERVE THIS UNIQUE LINE OF MOUNTAINS, AND TO GIVE THE ELEPHANTS SAFE PASSAGE ‘HOME’ TO REAL ELEPHANT COUNTRY.. Mt Kulal we hope, will be their next destination!!…

‘SNOW’ in Northern kenya!!

Great did i catch your attention!! GOOD… just look at these photos!… Snow? NO… but just about the closest one will get to it out here!!…

Nyiru behind.jpg Mt Nyiru behind!!

Along lugga Morran Sweet snow.jpg

road to Turkana.jpg Road to Turkana..Heliotropium.jpg

Masses and masses of white flowers…Heliotropium…. Absolutely beautiful… The aroma in the air was indescribable.. Maybe delicious!

this means more rain!!.jpgAND…………….Ipomea.. This means more rain!!

We have just spent the last 3 weeks south of Mt Nyiru… We put a camp up for some scientists from Europe and America, who were working in the Suguta valley, where there is usually a lake, size is about 1 or 2 square kms called Logipi… With all the rain that lake is now about 10 kms long, by 5 kms wide, if not more.. Incredible…

Lake Logipi in the Suguta Valley Lake Logipi may 2010.jpg

The local people who live near Mt Nyiru, not only did they suffer the severe drought last year but also the ongoing stock russeling between the Turkana and Samburu has been rife, both suffering the consequences badly… BUT one interesting point… And I’ve always had this view…. Tribal conflict can have a good side of it… It can help land recover from over grazing,… ..

sept 07 100.jpg This is what I mean by over grazing, which leads to Erosion!…

may 10 081.jpg

South Nyiru, May 2010… There is no stock here at the moment because of the age old tribal cattle/camel russeling, so this grass has been able to seed , and recover, which quite often it wouldn’t have had time to do, before it would be grazed ..

dry.jpg This to remind you how dry it was!!,,, But note the acacias in Flower!… see my next blog!!

There Aren’t Many Paradises Left, Lets Not Loose This One!

Let me take you back into the Matthews Range in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya… We are on a ‘safari’, that means we are on a journey, walking with camels carrying our camping equipment, and food…. We are crossing the Matthews, and on the way the plan was to conquer Matthews peak, the impressive cone shaped summit jutting out on the east side of this extraordinary mountain Range, but it wasn’t to be…I’m afraid

It started raining!! Rain!!.jpg Camels just have to smell mud, or wet grass and they are already slipping and sliding..Their feet made for the flat desert can not cope.. It became a disaster.. They couldn’t go forwards or backwards, their long lanky legs doing the splits in all directions… They are truly the ‘ships of the Sandy desert’!! We had to stop, find a place to camp … Camp.jpg Make a big fire, and have a cup of tea!, and hope tomorrow is going to be better… And by the way it was!, and we managed to get all 29 camels off the very steep mountain safely… Coaxing camels off the mountain.jpg

Its a nightmare I’ve had in my sleep before, but never lived it!!…

In the mean time just a few pictures of the beautiful things in the mountains.. This little ‘ perfect ‘ Aloe is only about 6 inches in width.. A little Aloe.jpg Growing out of this rock..

butterflies every where.jpg The Matthews are famous for their Butterflies, they were every where.. This was the only one that would sit still!… Look at the blue wash around the white patches… can anyone identify this one??

Cycads and Aloes everywhere.jpg This Cycad, endemic to the Matthews, and Ndoto ranges… Not only do they live for a long time now, but they also lived at the same time as the Dinosaurs.. Beautiful plants, and this little scene, with the Aloes, the cedars, and the rocks beats any home made garden!

Inside the forest.jpg Inside the forest..

leopard tortoise.jpg Is this a Speke’s Hinged Tortoise?? He was up high in the mountains! We did not see alot of game, but saw plenty of signs, and heard Elephant, below is a place they come to dig for salt, you can see their tusk marks in the holes, and wallow in the mud.. plenty of Buffalo, bushbuck, many tracks of small cats, mongooses and Hyenas.. place where the Elephants dig for salt.jpg

The Milgis Trust is working hard to keep the area that we cover, nearly 6000 square kms, from The Matthews Range, Ndotos and up to Mt Nyiru and all the areas surrounding these mountains, safe from destruction, and to keep the wildlife safe, and we employ 25 local scouts from the the Samburu tribe, they all have radios and GPS and record and report to base, any people destroying, or burning the forests, or trees or poaching of wildlife… We do not arrest and march the people off we call meetings, and we talk, we call it gentle conservation… We have gained great respect, through out this vast area, and I can see myself that we are winning as we have been doing Camel/walking safaris for 25 years, through this entire area, and I see a very big difference…

Please everyone can we ask you to support our ‘gentle conservation’ in the Northern Frontier of Kenya, to keep this VERY SPECIAL part of the world from being destroyed…

This is one of the Scouts meticulously [ he never went to school ] writing out his findings after a days walking through these special mountains one of the scouts writing his log.jpg His name is Lesongo, [Buffalo.. his identification] he worked for KWS for many years, and joined us when he was retired.. The community chose him as their scout for the area, he is highly respected, by every one, and is very serious about his work…