Category Archives: Water holes

Lena Maria’s spirit will live forever in Masikita!

SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN 21 TODAY, if the Utoyia tragedy had not taken her life..

DSC04608.JPG As you drive through the little dusty main drag of Masikita this sign post will definitely catch your attention… Front and back…

DSC04609.JPG artist Nderi-‘2’

I LOVE this painting.. With these troubled times in Masikita, with threats of armed stock thieves every day, and knowing what happened to Lena Maria, it SAYS IT ALL..’ LET US LIVE AND DRINK IN PEACE ‘

A huge huge THANK YOU to the Bergum Family who came all the way from Norway to turn the taps on in Masikita! Long may they flow with beautiful clean water from the bore hole, and quench the thirst of humans and animals alike..

A beautiful safari from the Milgis Lugga, up into the foot hills of the Northern Ndotos, and finally across the El Barta plains to Masikita…
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On the road to Masikita.. A sit down for 5 minutes!..

DSC04576.JPG DSC04594.JPG Walking up the main Street !!

DSC04610.JPG A very emotional but beautiful day for us all..

All the people of the little centre in all their finery to greet the visitors from Norway.. Unusually in Samburu culture the women are taking the lead here..a good sign, I would say!! DSC04615.JPG

DSC04622.JPG Happy feelings as we hear the water pouring into the tanks above the town!..

DSC04633.JPG Gathering under the trees for the speeches and grateful THANKS to the Bergums, VOSS and Milgis!

DSC04629.JPG Next picture of this trough will be with a Grevy Zebra drinking!! One of the biggest problems for the Grevy’s survival is the lack of water in the region.. This was built especially for these most beautiful animals, with the community of Masikita sanctioning it!.. We heard that on the 9th March 3 came in to drink!.. ( We have a new sponsor child 2013 from Masikita.. DSC04565.JPG Monkana, his fathers job is to look after the water for the Grevys, to make sure there is water in the trough every evening)

Out of BAD AND SADNESS, often brings GOOD !.. And this was no exception.. thanks to the Bergums trip to Masikita, help for people who really need it.. SO MANY THANKS!!

DSC04651.JPG I hate to show pictures of people with problems, but this baby, Arian has this terrible cyst like growth on his nose, and thanks to the Bergums and their supporters most of them the people of Namsos we are able to help her.. She was taken to Kijabe hospital yesterday but they can not help till may.. But she will get help..

DSC04653.JPG This Boy Julius Lengushuru broke his arm falling off a lorry (he was going to a football match in Latakwen! SHAME poor guy) .. His family did not take him to hospital till his arm was completely rotten and nearly falling off, and he was nearly dead. Why!?? because they were afraid they would not beable to pay the bill.. He will also get help from the Bergums..

DSC04658.JPG Patricia Nteyie Lobuk will also be lucky.. Her mother who works very hard to just keep alive asked us for help to send her lovely daughter to school.. Thanks to the Bergums shes already there!! So so happy.. The mothers job now is to look after the water in the centre of ‘town’ ( a donkey came in the night and turned on the tap, so every one learnt their lesson on the 1st night!!.. now it is fenced and Antonella is in charge!) She will also make sure the sign post is always clean and standing proud.. !!

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

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

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

SO WHATS GOING ON AT THE MOMENT!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POACHING RAVAGES ELEPHANT SOCIETY

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

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..

This rainbow is a bad omen…

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MILGIS LUGGA ‘FRAMED’… (both meanings of the word)

Beautiful as they may be, a rainbow is not good news as far as the Samburu are concerned, they believe the rainbow holds the rain back, and I must say this one ‘framing’ the Milgis Lugga is not what we were hoping to see!! We had just had the most incredible wind storm, lifting the sand hundreds of feet high, (that hill in the picture is 1000 feet high!),

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and thought that there was going to be good rain behind.. But the Samburu were certainly right this time, the rainbow was telling us what we don’t want to believe.. We have had 6 mm of rain at the Milgis base this season… Its too bad, having thought that all was good when the elephants crossed the Seiya end of October, but sadly there was no more.. The rains have failed…Its now very very dry in the Milgis..

The Elephants don’t know which direction to walk… Actually nor do the people and their livestock… We watch as people, and Elephants head east, a few days later another lot go west… It does not stop…Our job now is to make sure that ALL can get to water… Luckily there is plenty of food around after so many good months of rain in the beginning of the year… ANYWAY….. ‘WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING’!! Which I am sure is a Samburu saying, because they never complain about these situations, actually they don’t have time!! They just move the gear into low and go, go go.. Which is what our tractor team have been doing!!

Nov.Dec 2010 346.jpg elders watching on..

Nov.Dec 2010 319.jpg Pete giving instructions!!

We started with the ‘Water harvesting’ team on the North/East of the Ndoto Mountains, where the Samburu and Rendille meet, as there is always a terrible problem for water here, and we will be opening up all the old washed out water catchments and putting in pan dams, in sensible places.. This below is their first pan dam, Nov.Dec 2010 272.jpg at Ntil…

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below is the view from the rocks which will be a fantastic water catchment,for the pan Dam…

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Now we wait for it to rain!.. Next picture, will be water in the dam, and grevy zebras drinking!!

This below is their second job.. Opening up an old dam site, that had silted up..

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Nov.Dec 2010 351.jpg Loosening the earth.. Nov.Dec 2010 356.jpg

Nov.Dec 2010 331.jpg The elders in the area came to bless the dam, and poured milk around the wall and on the machine, so as to chase away any spells on our work… One of the hydraulic pipes on the machine had burst and the support car had broken down!.. It was a Beautiful prayer to their God, Ngai, who as I’ve said before I think is Nature, saying thankyou, for bringing help to their area… We then sat down, and talked about future work for the machine, opening up pans etc, and the history of this area, where they have not seen Elephants for so many years… They told us that, where we were sitting, which was in a small dry dam built in the colonial days, that it was the Elephants that had originally started the dam, and it was decided all those many years ago to substantiate it into more of a catchment….. The Elephants used this small dam as one of their important water sources for years until they were mowed down by poachers.. THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE ELDERS WAS THEY HOPED THE ELEPHANTS WILL COME BACK, and if the do they promised to look after them!!..

This BEAUTIFUL ‘Christmas’ OWL (spotted Eagle Owl) landed on the rocks as we were walking back to camp in the evening…
Nov.Dec 2010 375-1.jpg This is to wish you all ‘HAPPY DAYS’ … AND MANY MANY THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP THIS YEAR…. We are really making a difference… I promise you…Please CLICK here http://issuu.com/stelladeane/docs/milgis_trust_newsletter_2010 to check out our news from 2010 in a nut shell… 5230

‘Milgis’ projects gaining momentum.. First WATER!

1) Water Harvesting projects…

a) Thanks to our friends in Portugal!! Every year our scouts report many wildlife deaths because of lack of water.. In the lower Milgis several Grevy Zebra died trying to get to water this year… It is absolutely paramount that we deal with this problem, and not ignore it….. Its not an easy one, but we are trying our best…If we don’t do any thing at all we will continue to see wildlife disappearing off the face of the earth…. We only get about 3 or 4 months of the year when it rains, thousands/millions of gallons of water, rush off the Ndotos, and Matthews ranges, and disappear into the desert…The best we can do is harvest this water!! We have a very exciting new addition to the Milgis team…

This !! Dam machine 002.jpg

nov 10 014.jpg loading the machine onto the lorry for transportation to Northern Kenya…

We have spent the last two months teaching a Samburu man to drive it… they don’t grow on trees!.. But Lesukat from Maralal is ready to go and the team have just left for the East side of the Ndotos.. Hopefully we will have some results to show you soon!

Thank you to Gemka (center), leso's pics 111-2.jpg from B.P.S.for having the patience!, to teach Lesurkat, and lolbirdai to operate the machine!

b) Thanks to INTERNATIONAL ELEPHANT FOUNDATION… As you all know last year was one of the worst droughts to hit Kenya… Death was rife.. It was a terrible time.. Amongst many other Wild animals, including Grevy Zebras, we lost about 20 young Elephants due to not being able to get to water in the deep wells… Our scouts tried their best but we could not keep up with the demand.. All pics fr Lesoloyia Nov 09 133.jpg

All pics fr Lesoloyia Nov 09 205.jpg

To avoid the possibility of the same problem this year, we wrote a proposal to IEF asking for funds.. We were now covered and ready to employ enough people to make Eley friendly wells, but as you know the rains came, and up to September this year the Elephants have not had any problems with water!!… ( I hear today all the luggas are flooding, finally some more rain up north!, it has been abit slow)

In stead, because the Elephants are trying to make the break to get to Mt Nyiru, but there is big problem.. no water enroute, and the pans that they used to drink from have not been kept up… What I mean by this is Elephants keep their own water holes open, by bathing, in them, and throwing mud around.. So each time they visit them they help keep them open, but as I mentioned in my blog in 22/6/10 the Elephant have not been there for decades due to poaching.. So recently we have opened up two pan dams by hand, one on the north side of the Ndotos, and one south west.. Basically on the route to Nyiru!

IEF dam project 007.jpg Old pan dam site, that was not holding water any more..

digging the pan outIEF dam project 011.jpg ..

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Finished pan Dam.. next picture will be full of water, we hope!, with an Elephant in it..

2) Clean Drinking WATER, Thanks to the VOSS foundation, to the Center of Ol Donyo Nasipa..

swari water launch 017.jpg The elders blessing the well at Sware in feb. 2010 in the traditional way with milk..

In Febuary 2010 we had a fabulous safari from the Milgis to Sware, with some very enthusiastic Norwegians, and at the end we handed over to the people of Sware, a little center about 5 kms south of the Seiya Lugga, a special gift ….WATER, yes water!! Thats all, but they were extremely happy.. It was a beautiful opening with a lovely show of ‘thanks’ at the school, Clinic, and at the main outlet… All the Women ‘dressed up to the nines’, to celebrate this special occasion…. It was especially satisfying for me as 20 years ago I lived there, and they asked me several times to try to organise water to this little village… Finally they got it in Febuary 2010… Now when somebody has malaria, he does not need to walk 5 kms to get a cup of water to swallow his pills!!.. And Sware is booming!

swari water launch 026.jpg The children sang beautiful songs about water, and the eldest girl recited this poem..

YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT WATER…WATER IS LIFE……….. YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WATER…WATER IS LIFE…….. YOU HAVE TO DREAM ABOUT WATER….WATER IS LIFE…… YOU HAVE TO SING ABOUT WATER…. WATER IS LIFE……. YOU HAVE TO DRINK WATER……WATER IS LIFE………….

WITH OUT WATER, THERE IS NO LIFE.!!..

swari water launch 070.jpg Some of the Norwegian women, who came for the opening.. It is very important for people on both sides, the giving (above)and the receiving (below) to meet, and exchange there feelings!!

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The women of Sware sang as usual with so much energy, and were very emotional.. and wholesomely thankfully..

On the way to Sware, two things hit us hard.. First we came across the children from Ol Donyo Nasipa school, down in the Lugga collecting water.. No harm really, but except they had walked 4 kms, of good school time, plus they had to carry 5 liters of water back up the hill 4 kms, some of the children very small, and then get on with school… We followed the children back up to the school, and some of the Norwegian women, tried to carry the water and found its quite heavy actually! Also several things could have happened in the night to the well.. … like a flood could have passed in the night, or Elephants could have ruined the well, like here! a well destroyed by Elephants....jpg so no water for the children at all.. or even worse a flood comes through when they are still in the well…

Then later on when we were sitting having breakfast on the bank of the Lugga we saw a woman carrying a 20 liter gerry can up the hill… For those that have tried to carry 20 liters, how far did you get!! Its heavy… Very!!.. Her Donkey had died in the drought and this was her only option… This tweaked the Womens consciences!.. So at the beginning of next year the little center of Ol Donyo Nasipa will have clean drinking water, for the school, and center, and we hope the government will then put a clinic in!!

The tank and pipes….loading the lorry-1.jpg being loaded, on to the lorry..

Digging the well..
five people down well-1.JPG
Putting the casing into the well, so that the sides do not fall in..
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You can not do a conservation project with out the local people that live in the area.. So all these projects keep us ‘ALL on the same ship’! Also a percentage of funds from all these projects goes to the core operations… Thank you all!.. NEXT blog.. More projects.. Women Scouts, M.E.A.K.,milgis cheetahs football team, and Milgis Trust with all its success needs a vehicle!!..

The Milgis Trust needs more scouts to fulfill our mission…

HELP!!.jpg

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

radio hill.JPG

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.

logging important data..dedicated to keeping records.jpg

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..

following and monitoring tracks..following and monitoring tracks.JPG

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]

peacefull, and patient scenes for the BBC…

I have been told several times by people who used to come to the Milgis Lugga, in the old days , that in their opinion the place is finished… meaning there is no hope for the place… The wild life has been shot out, the place is over grazed… Well I don’t think the BBC will say that, and I think that it is the work of the Milgis scouts that is making the difference…… The story is how Elephants and Humans need each other to survive, and it is part of the Human Planet story… I can’t wait to tell you all, when it is going to be on air… Who said there was no Elephants in the Milgis… We have lots of proof!… Our filming for the last couple of weeks has been brilliant… Absolutely beautiful scenes, in the moon light, of Elephants, coming in thirsty, and tired, even sometimes going into a run as they get closer to the water… Young ones being left behind, as they are to too weary to run… On arrival one would expect a bun fight over the water… But no way.. the scenes around the wells have been completely orderly with peaceful groups or lone bulls, taking there time.. If they are lucky to find a well that is not too deep to reach the water, they all stand around, and wait, each one gets his turn..Its just such a beautiful sight.. Even more amazing is when they have to dig for water, they dig abit with their foot, and then they put their trunk into the deepest part, and draw and throw the sand out, just a hole big enough to fit their trunk in, then when they get to water, they wait for sometimes 40/50 seconds, while the water sifts through the sand, and their trunk fills up…Not only Elephants and humans helping each other but every animal in the area, then comes in to drink from the hole the Elephants have left…

Elephant drinking hole.JPG Elephants Drinking hole…

The Elephants, and therefore the rest of the wildlife, are doing very well considering the drought, our scouts are working extremely hard to keep the wells open, we are really trying… but today we have sad news… 4 elephants have been found dead.. One is up in the Matthews mountains and has been speared, it has a calf of about two years old.. which is still there, its an impossible place to get to and its a sad scene, another one has been found here on the upper Milgis, it is a youngster, that didn’t make it.. The other two is a mother and calf, down in the lower Milgis..The local communities around heard a little tiny calf calling and calling, so eventually they braved it and went into the thick bush to find the mother was dieing, and had fallen onto her new born calf.. They were too scared to get close and eventually both died…

But on a positive note, considering how harsh this drought is becoming, most of the Elephants are surviving, pretty well… And there is alot of heavy cloud around today… So we hope for lots of good news tomorrow morning…

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    

Share and share alike… MAN and ELEPHANT…

I am replying to your comment Sheryl, on ‘sad and lonesome death.’.as I feel its worth blogging about… …. I wish it was as simple as that… Keep the Elephants from falling into wells!!… Its a huge huge area, and sadly it is desperate times… The Elephants have increased because they are being pushed out of areas to the south, and before the seventies thousands of Elephants roamed this part of Kenya, actually they are returning home….. If only we had the money to employ lots of people to patrol… We so so appreciate your help, and I have told the manager that this money goes towards helping the Elephants, and all our well problems… Now is the time to get the communities involved in helping keep the Ely wells open, and if any one else is feeling generous, we would so appreciate, some financial support, for this project… Two reasons… If the communities benefited more from being nice to the Elephants, then they would try harder… Also I have just received the news below… We don’t want to reverse, the good balance of living together that we feel has been achieved, after this incident….

I have just spoken to the manager and he told me we had a very sad problem yesterday, where an Elephant tossed somebody, so they… The authorities decided they had to shoot the Elephant because he was now a ‘rogue’… Apparently it had killed a camel a few months ago… They stunned him, having shot at him several times, and they thought he was dead, and then for some reason they cut his ears up, and speared him several times…after a bit, and as every one was off guard, he got up again and killed somebody… This elephant is now out there, very badly wounded, and unfortunately dangerous… Now who’s to blame?…

Its very sad, and distressing, as we have tried so hard to tell every one, ‘you don’t hurt/disturb the Elephants they won’t hurt/disturb you, always keep a good eye/ear out for them, and avoid going too close’… And the first person he tossed, who was going about his day, was not harmed, more shaken, and the Elephant removed him from his path, he did not follow him up or any thing… Many times we have watched, as children are out with their stock, when they come across Elephants they watch from a distance, as the stock go through the trees , and they meet them the other side..

MAN MADE INTERFERENCE is an interesting statement actually… Man has to survive out there as well, and have for hundreds of years, in harmony with the wildlife…Actually if it was not for men digging water holes there would be no way the Elephants could survive here once the water goes down past a certain level… Most of the life out there, is share, and share a like… Men and Elephants do very well together, and really help each other out… The Samburu especially can take huge credit for their incredible patience, of living side by side with the wildlife, and have shown many times serious tolerance… But below is a picture showing a well, that the Elephants were using, every day, but the owner decided to cover it up.. Now where do they drink?… Tough times.. And difficult decisions…

Well covered with sticks and thorns...JPG Covering this well to me is now a misunderstanding on mans part… Or what??…

A sad and lonesome ending for this Elephant…

As the horrors of drought continue, the answer is to fight back….The Milgis Trust scouts have embarked on a major well digging campaign, up and down all the big luggas to ease the Elephants, and other wildlife’s plight to get to water… Also at the same time going on a fact finding mission to find out where all the disused wells are, after an Elephant had fallen into one and was not found until it was too late… They will talk to all the locals about exactly where all the old wells are, so that they can be monitored every day… The pictures and story written my Moses Lesoloyia below is the reason for this decision…..

elephant stuck in a disused well.JPG On the 19th June 2009 at 3pm a report reached our office that there was an elephant stuck in a water hole in Laana Nikan lugga, it came from a herder who was on a survey mission for pastures for his livestock.. He was also desperate, to find grass for his hungry cattle, so in stead of turning back to bring the report , he gave it to a KWS patrol vehicle, a day later… They picked the man up and brought him to where he thought he saw the Elephant, and searched the whole place but he could not quite remember where it was in the very thick bush along the Lugga.. They then sent a message to Elkanto, and asked us to bring some more people and any one with knowledge of the area…We immediately packed our land rover with water, rope, spades and digging tools and 8 of us, met up with the KWS team and headed back up the Lugga, grinding up in the soft sand… The land cruiser got stuck, but with many people gathering to try to help, they managed to get it out quickly… about 3 km from the Barsaloi and Seiya junction we stop, as the man leading us said he saw the elephant around there. He seemed to be behaving strangely, and we asked him to show us his tracks but there had been many Rendille camels in the area and it was not possible to retrace them, at one point we thought the man was cheating!! He kept on saying I promise you I saw an Elephant in a well, But where is it!… After a brief gathering of thoughts, Ltankian, a local warrior told us that he remembered where a well was when he was a child…We asked him to lead us there and sure enough we found the elephant which we assessed to between 10 and 12 years. The hole was very narrow and the elephant had fallen from the back and the whole body except the head got trapped into the hole. When we arrived she looked ok and used her trunk to scare away anyone going towards her head. We decided to open up the hole all round her back and tried to pull her out by passing the rope below her fore legs.

trying to pull Eley out of well....JPG We pulled her ¾ out and while trying to pass the other end of the rope below her hind legs she was calm and looked sleepy, we passed the rope very easily and when pulling it out someone shocked us all by saying.. “hi ndovu imekufa” [The elephant is dead] no one believed him. We continued pulling but stopped after realising that the elephant is no longer trying to come out and a foul smell filled the area. We found out that the hind legs were rotten and the skin peeled off when touched. It was at this time that we really started to believe that the elephant could be dying. After a few minutes the elephant was dead. Everybody’s spirit went down and all were tired. How, why, what, followed for about 10 minutes as all wondered why it died… This Elephant had been stuck in this well for at least a week or more,,, It breaks my heart…

disbelief as it died.JPG Disbelief after all that effort, as the Elephant seemed to be dieing..

One of the very strange things about this poor trapped Elephant is why did the hyenas not attack it when it was stuck in the hole, and apparently even ten days after it died it had not been touched…Despite lots of hyena tracks all round.. The people who tried to save this animals life say that they believe that this elephant has to have been cursed… ” tanang’a negol “ …to die in a hidden place…Why?? I can’t understand as my experience with these people is they hate to see suffering, but they say maybe some body in a family was hurt by an Elephant, and they must pay… I must mind my P’s and Q’s!!! ….

I apologise for so many photos not coming up on my blogs… I am trying…