Here is an image of the dam we built here on Tumaren for our wildlife. It remains dry despite April being what should be the rainiest month of the year. We can only hope that May makes up for the lack of rain this month.
We got this big boy last night out on the road. you can see the setting moonlight in the background. We think he is the same mail we got in our cameratrap at an Impala Kill earlier in the year. Fortunately, he did not find the Easter Bunny who did visit us with chocholate this morning.
Today Rangers Kichine and Kitilla found the below dead Lion cub stashed in a tree. Lion tracks were all over the base of the tree but it was obvious that no lion would have been able to stow the dead cub way up in the thin branches. The consensus on the ground is that a new Male Lion is in town who killed this young and that in the night a Leopard came to claim the cub and try to stow it for later. Even this seems like abnormal behavior on a Leopard’s part, also quite risky as the lions like this area and would love nothing more than killing a Leopard. Possibly in the middle of the night when the Leopard was feeling more brazen he was able to take the kill when the Lions were sleeping off a bit. Then in the morning when the lions realized what the Leopard intended they slept beneath the tree to prevent his return (there were no Leopard tracks to be seen as they were covered by Lion tracks that flushed just in front of our rangers). I have left the camera trap at the tree for the night to see who returns to the scene of the crime.
These shots were taken several months ago as some of our walking safari clients were leaving on the road to Nanyuki. You can see in the photo that one of the front dogs has a collar. This will be one of the Laikipia Wilddog projects animals and we will be sure to forward this post to them for identification. In the picture there is a fence in the background. This fence borders one of the large conservation ranches and functions to keep black rhino within a large area and also restricts illegal grazers from entering from the main road. The fence allows all animals but the rhinos from passing and so do not get the impression that these animals are at all enclosed or tame – they are very wild and free to roam all over our area.
Lots of these Variegated Grasshopers around now. Its dry here and they often seem to be around when its dry (or maybe i just hear them better in the withered grass?). These guys travel in small swarms (oftern times about 30 or more individuals). Insects with black and yellow markings are often times poisonous or foul tasting and so i would not be surprised to find that these guys were also distasteful.
We find Desert Roses downstream on the Ewaso Nyiro River and east of us at lower altitudes .Yesterday though, Kitilla, one of our rangers came to us to say he had found an unidentified plant along our eastern boundary. We were shocked to find that it was a Desert Rose. These incredible flowering bushes, despite a poisonous sap is a popular ornamental plant that makes its way to nurseries all over the world. The sap is also used by some African tribes as a pois0n to tip their arrowheads. This individual is the only Desert Rose that we have seen in our area. How it was dispersed so far from his friends in the lower hotter country is a mystery. Anyone know if birds eat Desert Rose seeds?
We have Lesser Kudu on Tumaren but we have only seen Greater Kudu on some of the nearby hills (recorded less than .5kms away). It is likely that Greater Kudu have crossed Tumaren as well but we have not yet seen them. On a recent trip I took the following picture of a Greater downstream on the Ewaso Nyiro River and then The Lesser I took a few kilometers from Tumaren. Seeing these images together is nice because you can more easily see the differences than you might in some guide books. The first image is the Greater. Males have a pronounced dewlap, they are generally large and bulky, have an even and overall greyer coloration, and lack the more striking white markings that the greater has on his neck.
And here is the Lesser. He is a smaller with more dramatic coloration. Lesser often are said to have more stripes but this characteristic is not needed for ID. Habitat is usually the best way to narrow it down quickly, Lesser preferring flatter dryer, hotter places while greater prefer more rugged hillside type habitat.
I found this fellow a few months back on a walking safari down the Ewaso Nyiro River and forgot to post his handsome mug. Have a look at his ears. He has clearly being fighting with another. Bush babies are prosimians (which is latin for split nose). They are primates and like lemurs shared a common ancestor with humans in the not so distant past.
Caught this adult Bat-eared Fox in the camera a while back. You can really see the size of his insect probing ears. What you cant see is a set of exceptional jaw muscles capable of extremely rapid bug chomping (i think i remember that they set some kind of chomping speed record in the mammal world but know i cant remember).