Can you know a Leopard by its spots?

I was having a look at some of our past cameratrap pictures and looking closer at the Leopard images in order to see if i could identify the individuals.  I reckoned at first that the first two cats were the same and the third was a second cat.  The size of the first two males looks about the same and i suppose that is why i assumed they were the same. The third looked more juvenile, not yet with all the fat around his upper body, neck and head.  Anyway, have a look at these three cats and tell me your opinion:

Here is the first one. notice the sort of spiral around one central rousette three quarters down his left back end.

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Now compare that same area to this cat caughtabout 2kms away. he is about the same size but that funny rousette does not appear on this animals rear end.

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Now, here is the third animals left rear.  he appeared significantly smaller than the previsous two cats in the other images we got of him.

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Geologist Wanted

Here are a series of Rocks that I photographed on a recent trip down the Ewaso Nyiro River. I would appreciate any ideas anyone might have about any of these structures as well as some clue as to how they were formed.  I know that our area has experienced a great deal of interesting geologic activity associated with the the movement and spread of the rift valley but i dont know enough about it.  Thanks for any ideas. Cheers, Jamesimg_3205.jpgimg_3206.jpgimg_3181.jpgimg_3180.jpgimg_3180.jpg

 

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Leopard Photographed Looking For Easter Bunny

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.

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Crocodile Slaughter on Ewaso Nyiro River

My concerns for the crocs in the Ewaso were confirmed the other day when Kerry and I passed a camp downstream at an area called Ntodo.  We found 2 dead crocs that were hunted down while they hid pathetically in the last remaining hiding places on the river.  A local Samburu that we spoke with said that they had killed 8 in the immediate area, most of whom had hidden under the fig treen in the photograph below.  you can see in the images of the tree where they had cut the roots  to access the crocs hiding underneath. the last image in of one of the crocs dead and still in his hiding place. all very sad and we can only hope that enough small crocs survive till the river starts flowing again.  The worst part of this water disaster is that it has all been man-made. This is what happens when there is no water management, an excess of corruption and no enforcement of existing laws.

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Dead Baby Lion

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.

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Mt. Kenya Burning

Today we went to Nanyuki and around midday we began to see billowing smoke coming from up from the Mt. Kenya forest.  We were told that the fire has been going for several days, that the British Army was helping to contain it and that it appeared to be largely contained this morning.  Winds in the afternoon though got the fire raging and now at 9:00 at night almost the entire Mountain is aglow in embers.  At Tumaren we are 70km from Mount Kenya and the ring of fire looks to cover a very substantial area from here.  We can only hope that much of the primordial forests are spared and that much of the burning is in the understory and not in the canopy of the large Olives and Cedars.  Hopefully we will know more in the morning.

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Ewaso Nyiro River Dry

The main river that flows north from Nanyuki and the Aberdares through Laikipia is dry.  In the terrible drought of 2000 the river stopped momentarily but resumed quite quickly. Yet now we find ourselves in a rather typical year with a river that has been dry for several months.  The wildlife is suffering terribly and I worry for the Hippos and the crocodiles that could be extirpated from the entire drainage should these conditions persist.

The main problem now is not weak short rains but too many small farmers pumping from the river upstream.  A friend who is in a Naro Moru water association upstream said that in a given short stretch of river near them they counted 400 small Honda pumps taking illegaly from the river.  These farmers then dig holding ponds which they then use to irrigate their fields.  Many people have taken the opportunity to blame the larger farms.  While they must share a bit of this burden the majority of large farms are highly regulated by the government and must not only keep within given guidelines but also practice efficient irrigation techniques (drip etc.)  The small farmers practice no conservation and they are sucking our part of the world dry.  Many in our area (Samburu and Masai who are pastoral people and depend on the same water for their herds), particularly the younger men have spoke about walking the river upstream and burning out every pump they find.  I sympathize with their frustration.

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Wilddog Pics from Laikipia, Kenya

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.

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