Category Archives: Overgrazing

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..


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

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



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



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..


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.. ..


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

Rendille on the move.. Unbelievable sight !!

I’VE NEVER SEEN ANY THING LIKE IT!! We have all been hearing on the news of the drought in North Eastern, and this is what we saw on our last safari!! A MIGRATION OF NOTE!


Wave after wave of animals passed us on the Milgis Lugga, heading from East to West.. It was the most unbelievable sight!! Hundreds and thousands of Cows, Camels, Goats and Sheep, were being herded gently by their loving owners, coaxing them through thick ( Incredible dust storms ) and thin ( no water or food ) to find greener pastures towards the west.. This has been going on for days and days..


They just seemed to keep coming, and disappearing into this dust.. The little calves following their mothers.. ALL HEADING TO THE AREAS WHERE IT RAINED PROPERLY LAST MONTH..


Their owners are the Samburu and Rendille who live in the Marsabit area.. Marsabit is a beautiful mountain right in the middle of the desert about
100 kms to the East of where we were on the Milgis Lugga, and they will continue to walk until they find pasture.. The Animals all looked amazingly well, and the people herding them tough and determined.. They will stop at nothing to save their livelihoods..

DSC00885.JPG The wind blowing down the milgis is extraordinary..You can see how strong it is on the doum palms behind..

DSC00912.JPG The hill sides are dotted with thousands of goats and sheep .. Its hard for the local residents to watch their valuable Graze and browse being eaten up.. They them selves had moved out to let it recover.. BUT its Samburu policy, and I admire them so much for this.. YOU DO NOT LET YOUR NEIGHBOUR STARVE..


A whole house on a donkey..


Can you imagine watering these huge herds, all done by hand like this..

P9222358.JPG The goat and sheep kids are carried in side these donkey saddles..



People tell me that its time for people to settle, time for people to own land… I say.. No they will die.. LONG LIVE NOMAD ISM… Long live these beautiful people, and the pastoral life..

DSC00801-1.JPG Even the Marsabit Elephants have moved in!! Interesting though they started arriving a month ago.. Very soon after the rain in on the 13th June.. Very clever!!

BUT…. BUT SEE BELOW… NO MORE OF THIS!! They must NOT cut the trees down any more in this way, to feed their hungry livestock.. .. Our scouts are busy following them, and explaining that this has to stop.. This is a result of September/October last year when the Rendille moved into the south end of the Ndotos.. The destruction was terrible, but this time we are determined to stop the mass destruction, if they do abit of pruning to feed their stock it does no harm….

DSC00647.JPG young commifera trees hacked down to feed their livestock.. DSC00652.JPG This Whole tree cut down for their stock.. They could not have been able to get to the higher branches..

DSC00183.JPG An Acacia Tortilis hacked down.. This tree saves the stock so often (when its alive!).. The leaves, flowers and seed pods are very nutritious.. If they do this to it WHAT NEXT?? WHAT WILL THEY EAT NEXT YEAR?

Our scouts and the manager have just toured the whole area, from the West side of the Matthews, to all around the Ndotos to explain the repercussions of cutting trees.. an awareness campaign to show what can happen if they don’t care.. They showed films kindly donated to us by
in the evenings at 12 different places, then the next morning held meetings, and had heated discussions… ALL IN ALL IT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS.. We hope the residents who are welcoming the Rendille and Samburu from the drought areas will make sure that the trees are spared..

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!)

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..

leso's pics 105-1.jpg

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!

leso's pics 076-3.jpgleso's pics 077-3.jpg

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…

‘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!!

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!!…

To solve some of the major problems emerging Milgis Trust unveils our new vet proposal…

Milgis Trust

Vet Unit, northern Kenya

In a place as remote as the Ndoto Mountains and Matthews Range of northern Kenya where do the people turn when their animal is in trouble?

Our conservation veterinary unit will not only offer desperately needed veterinary services to the livestock of the incredibly remote Samburu, Rendille and Turkana nomadic tribes, but will campaign without fail to improve quality rather than quantity of livestock in the hope of reducing the degradation of the land, the struggle for water and therefore the presence of human/wildlife conflict.

On top of this, because it is such a inaccessible area, with approval from the veterinary department of the KWS we will give first aid care to the young or sick wild animals, that we find abandoned…Either to nurture them back to being fit enough to return to the wild with the least trauma, or to arrange for them to go to further care.. Just this year we have had several animals brought in that needed help.. [The Greater Kudu calf, mother killed by hunting dogs, baby warthog, found stuck in the mud were perfect examples, of animals that may have survived if they had had vet care ]

This project will be life changing for the people, and their valuable livestock and the entire ecosystem of over 4,000 sq kms that the Milgis Trust team works tirelessly to conserve.

very young greater kudu...JPG Very young greater kudu… his stomach lining was bleeding having been picked up after his mother was killed, by wild dog, and fed from dirty bottles…

This Vet Unit will practise standard veterinary care and help to coordinate referrals and transportation for wildlife to other wildlife care/veterinary units in emergency situations. It will be a permanent presence at the MT headquarters with a full-time qualified vet charging a small fee for services for community livestock. There would not be any thing like the amount of lose of stock this year if the animals were healthy before the drought begun.. It will also be a conservation campaigning unit that will offer advice and guidance on how to improve quality rather than quantity of livestock, as well as livestock marketing and work to combat land degradation, human/wildlife conflict and drought crisis.

Dead livestock.jpg Common scene every day…

The Milgis Vet Unit’s 4 objective S’s & how we can accomplish those objectives:

SPEED of response to emergency calls

(Patrolling scouts, vet on call, communication devices, vehicle)

SKILL of a trained field vet in handling calls and campaigning

(Permanent trained field vet located at MT HQ)

SAFETY of the animal whilst in our care

(Trained staff helpers, quality equipment, medical supplies, feed and resources)

SUSTAINABILITY of the aftercare of the animal its accommodation and its safe release

(Permanent veterinary building and enclosure, continuous collaboration and support from conservancies in the area)


1) Construction of Vet Unit building and enclosure at Milgis Trust HQ

· Building 1. Vets accommodation on site.

· Building 2. Veterinary surgery, feed store, medical store & equipment store

· Enclosure. 2 x Fenced Pens and 2 x Covered pens

2) Purchase of Vet Vehicle

3) Purchase of supplies

· Medical equipment

· Medicines and supplies

· Animal feed

· Transport resources and petrol

4) Hiring permanent government qualified field vet

· Interviewed by KWS and Milgis Trust

5) Set-up an efficient communication rapid-response radio system

· Connect Milgis Trust scouts, Mini Vet Unit & KWS

6) Create an Emergency fund & backup support

· Air transport backup if needed to DSWT or other in Nairobi

7) Create Community awareness and fee list for veterinary services for community livestock

· Communities would pay a fee to have their livestock treated

· Regular and continual livestock campaigns to reduce quantity of stock and raise quality

· Health checks and rabies vaccinations of domestic dogs

Maybe now is the time to talk ” QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY “

As I watch a herd of cattle crossing the lugga below us, with over half of the participants hardly able to put one foot in front of the other, and they still have miles to go, as the owners have decided to cut and run to try to save their ‘ love of their life ‘ [ cows] lives, by looking for greener pastures, is a very difficult situation, even the hardest person can not be happy to see that… Again three weeks ago there was a bit of rain on the west side of the Ndotos, and ‘every one and his goat’ left for the area with their livestock, on a last resort run to save their bank account from collapse!!! or to put it into context, try to save their lives,…They could not stop to wait for the stragglers, they had to leave them behind to fend for themselves, in this harsh country side… knowing that there was not much hope…who’s going to give them water out of the deep wells? and then when it gets dark, the predators will have a field day… I am not sure when it is that us humans will realise that our environment just can not hold any more??

trees cut down to feed Hungry stock and to make bomas.jpg Up here this year, thousands of trees have been cut down to save the animals, and to make new bomas [Koral’s] ,unbelievable over grazing until there is not even a spike of dry grass left…and then comes the erosion…

drastic errosion.jpg

which leads to the thick, thick mud in the luggas..

thick mud after a flood in the Lugga.jpg

It is an indication, that its time for the MILGIS TRUST to start a very controversial project, NOW… We need to start talking, and immediately after this dreadful drought I feel is a good time..’ QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY ‘ of livestock is the way forward, although to persuade these Samburu people, is going to be interesting, BUT this year once again they have learnt their lesson, and plenty of people have lost stock… Out here a drought is like a bank robbery to us, the only difference is it slowly bites!!.. This problem, is a problem that we could ignore because it is controversial, it is untraditional, But it means in twenty years time we will call this area a desert… I have seen an unbelievable change in the last 25 years.. Imagine another 25 years with so many more people living off this parched land… Milgis trust is going to take the bull by the horns… so to say, slowly, gently, coaxingly…. Persuade… Funnily enough, already many people we have met lately under stand, its action that is needed, to move on!!

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.

Beautiful old series two Land Rover given to the Milgis Trust… Thankyou

Every things happening up in the Milgis this month!! Usually a quiet sort of place…except when the wind blows!…

2 weeks ago, ‘The Landrover’ left for the Milgis Lugga, from our workshops at Naro Moru… We were very kindly given this series 2 landrover by Marika Beckman, who came on a camel safari in March..She decided this was the place for this beautiful old car to spend her last days… We picked her up in April, she was a wreck as she had done many Rhino Charges with Donna Hurt!!.. But after a thorough going over, in the workshop, and a paint job, shes out in the bush again… What a lovely vehicle, just so quiet compared to these modern cars and yet so much power.. She cruises up Elkanto hill in second gear!!..

Series 2 landrover leaving the workshop.JPG

We want to find out more of the probably 40 year history of this car, I’m sure its interesting!..But what we know is its already done alot for CONSERVATION!!… Immediately the land rover got to the Milgis, we organised an awareness campaign up in the north…Ten scouts went ahead by foot to gather every one for meetings, all round Mt Nyiru, and Ol Donyo Mara.. The manager and some of our “clever talking” scouts from the Matthews area, have gone to meet up them, so as to inform the communities about the inevitable return of the Elephants, what its like to live with them, and please to welcome them home… They also have lots more to tell the communities…. water for the wildlife, erosion issues, the result of too much stock, tree cutting, the value of wildlife, especially the Grevy zebra and how rare they are, ideas of how to protect there bomas [ thorn enclosure] against predators, killing the predator is not the answer!! Of course one one of the major topics is the burning of the forests…He has a small inverter, which will work off the Land rover battery and he has many pictures on his computer to show them …and a small film on how to live with predators..

Last but NOT least… Andrew thank you for your donation….Its greatly appreciated….Lots more news tomorrow

We feel that this project will help the future of wildlife in arid areas???



Project description

Following efforts from the scouts and the entire community within the Milgis ecosystem, we have observed a significant and rapid change in the behaviour and distribution of wildlife populations over the last few years. Overall, both wildlife and local communities appear to have become more relaxed and wildlife, especially elephants have been opening up old movement routes into the Matthews-Ndoto Ranges which they used historically. This has benefited local communities living near the mountains, providing them and their livestock access along these new elephant routes to areas in the mountains. Also the elephants are now feeling safe enough to probe the areas north of the Ndoto mountains, in the hope to go back to mounts Nyiru and Kulal.. where they were almost completely wiped out of during the tragic poaching of the 1970s and 80s..Those that were lucky enough to escape south, are the ones probing to go back… What they don’t know is that things have changed and human populations have increased dramatically, and the water sources are not where they were when they had to run for their lives…

As a result of the increasing presence and movement of wildlife under the protection of the community scouts within the area, the opportunity for conflict with people and livestock over water and pasture during the dry season presents itself. Conservation efforts now have to strike a critical balance: Wildlife and habitat conservation needs to be clearly understood, and the benefits need to be the communities.. Our conservation efforts need now to be even more vigilant as a result of our success, which leads to an increase in demand for resources. One of the major sources of conflict in northern Kenya is over water, the resource is scarce in this region and the little that exists is needed by all.

In the northern frontier district, there are huge tracts of land that are unoccupied because of lack of water. Opening up such areas would ease the population in those currently occupied as the wildlife and even nomads would spread out and reduce the damage to the environment that is caused by over crowding. This will also ease over stretching of the available resources. Opportunities for accessing water to the communities living in the drier parts are enormous, there are numerous pans and dams that are no good, because of silting, while there are plenty of dry streams where flood waters during the rainy season can be harvested by developing new dams or Haffir tanks.

We are therefore requesting for support… A water project that will involve accessing water to communities and wildlife in northern Kenya… Some wildlife species like the Grevys’ zebra that are endemic to this region, are threatened by lack of water. The Trust will continue its security and monitoring operations which have been responsible for the encouraging change in the behaviour and distribution of wildlife in this region and in gradually building positive attitudes towards wildlife. This stability provides the platform from which the Trust can implement its other conservation activities which will ensure that for wildlife and natural resource protection to be sustainable there needs to be real development opportunities made available.This includes education, security, health care, livestock marketing and water development.

The specific objectives of this project are; De-silting pans and dams that are dry, and opening up new dams in arid areas. Creating water resource conservation, use and management awareness among the communities…


  • Mitigating human wildlife conflict within the Milgis Trust area

    The Trust is dedicated to conserving the environment and wildlife in the long-term through the provision of real economic benefits to the communities…, To this end, the Trust is taking steps to make water accessible to the people to try and reduce situations that cause conflict with wildlife. By making water available to both the nomads and wildlife, opportunities for conflict will be reduced, and the communities will start to see wildlife as bringing benefits to them. This will strengthen our conservation efforts and the people will start to be more accommodating to the wildlife..

  • Easing the elephants water problems, as the Umbrella species for all wildlife..

    ‘The Elephant’ is under pressure from fences and human populations to the south, so they are probing routes to go to places with less pressure.. The presence and movement of elephants within the area naturally increases the opportunity for conflict between people and livestock over water during the dry season..

  • Especially easing the endangered Grevy Zebras plight of travelling huge distances to water …
  • Accessing to water to communities, and solving overgrazing, and erosion …

    Through the Milgis Trust community scouts and the Manager, continued awareness creation on the importance of conserving the available water and other resources in sustaining human livelihoods is undertaken. Meetings are arranged… discussions take place on local conservation concerns with particular focus on water resource use issues especially during the dry season. The communities will be trained on catchments area protection, the relationship between the environmental destruction and water shortage among other conservation issues.


The Milgis Trust would do this by purchasing equipment to undertake this activity. Purchasing our own equipment will ensure sustainability of this project.

Project Impact:

As an established field presence, the Milgis Trust scouts have made a significant impact on improving security for wildlife and natural resources within the Milgis Ecosystem, in the three year time frame they have been operating… The role of the scouts has therefore been instrumental in maintaining the momentum of conservation and awareness activities across the region. Once this program is under way the following benefits are anticipated;

ü Reduced erosion due to congestion in areas where water is available, once water is made available to other areas the community will spread out.

ü Reduced human wildlife conflict over water resource use.

ü Improved human wildlife relationship and co-existence.


Tractor, ripper and Dam Scoop, and Back up pickup…

1 x SAME LASER TRACTOR 125 4wd ..

· assembled in Italy using European components… meets all current European specifications · 125hp DIN, 140hp SAE
· 6 cylinder, 6000cc turbo charged engine
· rear tyres 18.4 R 34
· front tyres 16.9 R 24

1 x 3.5 cubic meter Dam Scoop

1 x Ripper

offer 7 free services to our customers however depending on where this tractor will be located we will negotiate what we are willing to do for you as soon as we have further details.

Training: We offer full operator training for your operators and service maintenance training for your mechanics. The training is offered free of charge with only incidental costs of transport, food and accommodation etc being charged.

1 x 4wd pickup backup vehicle..

Extras… camping equipment…

Total costs to set up the Dam unit… …………………………………………….aprox Ksh 10,750,000/-

aprox….. US $ 150,000.

Operating costs per month… Fuel, maintenance, wages, and food… aprox Ksh 200,000/-

per year x 12 = Ksh 2,400000/= US $ 32000.

I am putting this on the Blog, because especially after this last drought, we have decided this is one way we can hopefully ease many of the problems… I am not expecting just any one to come up with this sort of cash!, but if anyone knows of any organisation that may beable to help…We really want to get this project going…As a independent mobile unit… Run By Pete Ilsley.. a Milgis Trust Trustee….