First I would like to thank a very kind person named Sonja P for making a donation toward conservation in our area. The money will go toward scouts that are currently assisting the neighboring community ranch to patrol their large area. We appreciate your generosity very much Sonja.
Also we have had an influx of migrant birds in the past few weeks arriving from Europe, Asia and norhtern Kenya. Among the species that have been passing by, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Common Rock-thrush, Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Isabaline Shrike, Red-backed shrike, Pied Wheatear, Northern Whetear, Isabaline Whetear. Below is a picture of a non-migrant resident bird, our friend the Scops Owl.
In the drought of 2000/2001 the species that were hit the hardest in Laikipia were the following mammals: Warthog, Waterbuck, Hippo, and Buffalo. Since then it has been the warthogs that have sustained the best rebound with waterbuck following. Buffalo in our area have been greatly helped by larger herds that live south of us on higher ground near the Loldiga mountains. Still we only see Buffalo in small herds of threes and fours and typically they are all bulls with family herds only coming onto us occasionally. Hippos have taken a very long time to return. Every once and a while we have a couple pass by Tumaren but the do not seem to stay for very long. Evidently there are nice deep pools that the few individual that are still around prefer. Despite that we have seen young hippos with mothers and waterbuck these days are frequently encountered in groups of 6 or 7. Its nice to see all these guys beginning to return.
On Nov. 13 th while on safari on the Ewaso Nyiro river we ran into 21 WildDogs hunting. They were in the process of harassing a group of four Waterbuck that seemed very frightened and stressed. The Waterbucks would run and then turn to face the dogs. The dogs would then back down and look for another opportunity. At one point a Dikdik sprang from a bush behind the dogs and 4 engaged it in chase. Luckily for Mr. Dikdik he made a safe escape. Meanwhile several dogs kept returning to a certain patch of bush. As we watched the area with our binoculars we realized that they were eating and that they had a kill. When 2 young dogs began playing with a leg we decided that it was a young Waterbuck that they had taken. Very exciting and great to be able to watch the dogs for a good half hour as they played and chased each other.
I have noticed more and more carapaces of dead tortoises in our area in Laikipia. They range in size from medium to large and show no signs of physical trauma. I’m wondering if there could be a fungus that could be spreading between them that may have originated from captive animals. I understand that tortoises in the states have had problems like this.???
The elephants are back in large numbers and a week ago a group of them charged through our camel herd dispersing the camels in every direction. Then the rain came and our rangers couldn’t track them. They recovered half the herd but the other half ended up spending the night out. The next day all were recovered except one, a lttle brown one. Unfortunately, little brown has gone to heaven and the local lion pride is feeling very satisfied with themselves.
One of our neighbours large bulls was killed and eaten on our property several days ago. It appears to have been doing a little secret grazing in the evening when the lion got it. This is the third lion loss for this particular neighbor in the past 4 months. We have notified the Laikipia Predator Project but should readers here like to read more about an excellent Organization that works to mitigate lion / livestock problems go to:
On October 12th we took the following photograph of one of our rangers, Mlio with all the snares that we have so far collected in 6 months of searching. Some of the snares are with small wire for smaller animals such as Dikdiks while others are enormous and intended for such things as buffalo and Eland. We have also discovered the source of the poachers wire, an abandoned fence line on our neighbor property. We have suggested that we pay to have the wire collected for them and put into a store where it can be safely managed. The neighbours are amenable and we intend to do the giant cleanup in the first week of November.