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Bush Telegraph Newsletter

October 2014

We have now returned from our latest safari to Magical Kenya and our most spectacular and exciting to date.

 

We are going to be very busy editing down over 700 images and will in due course be publishing a full account of our exploits and will be updating the web site with new material. Watch this space! 

 

Why We Love September in the Masai Mara


 

 4 September, 2014

 

September days start with gorgeous mornings and warm midday's temperatures rising to around 30 degrees Celsius. We sometimes receive scattered rain showers in the late afternoon and evenings. With scattered rain comes wildflowers and the tissue paper flowers (Cycnium Tubolosum), fireball lilies (Scadoxus multilorus) with their brilliant reds and pyjama lilies (crinum macowanii) with their white and purple stripes bring flashes of colour to the plains. 


 

Photo courtesy of Patrick Reynolds


 

The wildebeest migration remains on the plains of the Mara with dense concentrations of wildebeest and zebra covering the plains. They spread out during the day to graze coming together in tight herds for safety at night. We often look out over the plains from Governors Camp and see thousands and thousands of wildebeest. River crossings are plentiful from a handful of zebra to a few thousand wildebeest. Crocodiles still take a few although most have now had their fill and watch contently from the riverbank. 


 


Photo courtesy of Holger Franke


 

Dung beetles of all colours and sizes are buys trying to clear up what the wildebeest have left behind as are the termites. All in turn providing a feast for birds, aardvarks, aardwolves, bat-eared foxes and mongooses.


 

Elephant are frequent visitors to camp, often arriving at Little Governors Camp at lunchtime leaving staff to usher guests to a safe distance away as the elephant families move through camp. Giraffe move up to the acacia woodlands, the large buffalo herd with their young spend their time between the Marsh and the ridge. 


 

Photo courtesy of Raymond Morris


 

Many of the antelope species begin mating with males seen rutting and asserting their territories. This mating is designed to time with the antelopes birth at the start of the long rains at the end of March, which gives the young new lush grass to feed on and taller grass to hide in. Resident baboons spend their time feeding on the roadside verges. Warthogs and their piglets are seen all over the grasslands. Ostriches sit on their eggs (normally around 20 eggs) with the females guarding the eggs during the day and the males at night.

 

The marsh prides of lions remain and the core of their territory close to Governors Camp, hunting at night and relaxing during the day. The Paradise pride stays close to the river often hiding in the croton bushes near to the crossing sites ready to ambush unsuspecting wildebeest and zebra on one occasion a lioness killed 5 wildebeest from her ambush site. 

 

Photo courtesy of Ina Hillier


 

As if timed to perfection to coincide with a time of plenty on the plains all of the big cats have cubs. There are lots of lions cubs in the Marsh Pride; we enjoy sightings of leopards in the forests between the Governors family of camps sometimes with a cub in tow and mother cheetahs emerge from their den sites with multiple cubs. 


 

 

Photo courtesy of Bridget and Jim Downie


 

Birds

 

Eurasian Bee eaters fly high in fairly large flocks. Lilac Breasted Rollers feed off large brown grasshoppers in the grass on the open plains. Black Shouldered Kites, Tawny Eagles and Bateleur Eagles are all commonly seen on the plains. Marsh owls are often seen in the late mornings and evenings with Verreaux Eagle Owl and Spotted Eagle Owls being seen in the woodland areas. 


 

 

It has been high season for the last few months and we have been busy at all our properties welcoming clients from all over the world and sharing with them what these unique, beautiful corners of Africa have to offer. In the Mara, migration season continues and this year we have seen some particularly spectacular river crossings, with three happening just below the bar deck at Governors Camp. At Loldia House guests have been experiencing all that the ranch and region has to offer and on Mfangano island our clients have been enjoying some wonderful, lake side tranquillity to end a perfect safari. In Rwanda our guests have comeback from their gorilla treks reporting breathtaking experiences with the Mountain Gorillas and back at the lodge new managers Wendy and Finlay arranged a team building fun day for all the staff.


 

We look forward to welcoming you on safari with us.


 

Sincerely,
Governors Camp Collection 


 

Governors Camp Game Report Masai Mara

August 2014


 

Weather and grasslands


 

August this year we have had more rain than other years at this time which has influenced the grasslands into a green flush with the prominent grasses actually turning almost overnight. The Musiara, Bila Shaka and Marsh grasslands leaf structure has improved since the little rain. On the 12th we received 28mm of rain and on the 19th 30mm. The Marsh water levels have improved and risen with the little rain which has in turn brought more elephant into the Marsh. Cool mornings would bring on warm days with humidity rising just before the rains. The total rainfall for the months was 115.2 mm. Morning temperatures average at 15C, Midday 28C and evenings temperatures drop to 24C. 

 

Photo courtesy of James Townsend


 

The Mara river has risen considerably with the rains in the north East beyond the boundaries of the reserve. Within the woodlands the Teclea Nobilis is flowering at present and this will in turn bring on a small red fruit which both Baboons, Birds and Elephant like to eat. Both the leaves and roots of the Teclea Nobilis are used in local medicine.


 

General game


 

Many of the resident Wildebeest were within the Talek and Masai conservation areas in the North east of the Mara environs. A few crossed this month at Paradise. 

 

These areas had earlier rainfall than what was received in the reserve. Towards the end of the month on the 26th sightings of a big herd of the Tanzanian Wildebeest were seen crossing the sand river and the Mara river at the Mara bridge. Although by the 30th the bulk of the movement was still some distance across the border.


 

The resident population of wildebeest and zebra passed though the Musiara area with a few crossing the Mara River at the main crossing points, they then moved across into the Trans Mara conservancy and then moving in a south easterly direction crossed back again via the Talek River into the north east masai conservation areas. These masai conservation areas in the north east received reasonable rainfall earlier on the month than perhaps other areas of the Mara Reserve hence the wildebeest and zebra were more stable here. As of the 30th there were still large numbers of resident gnus spread out across the Bila Shaka, Musiara, Topi and Rhino Ridge Plains and these will have come down from the Masai conservation areas on the 25th of the Month. 

 

 

Photo courtesy of James Townsend


 

Reports of sightings of some large numbers crossing at the Sand River between the borders was seen on the 25th and 26th collectively with an estimated 50,000 animals seen crossing here. Smaller herds were also seen crossing at the Mara bridge on the 27th and 28th with an estimated 1,500 animals crossing each time. On the 29th at 7.30am near the Mara bridge area of the Mara river there was a larger crossing of Wildebeest and Zebra with an estimated 5,000 animals crossing. Also, on this same day there was another crossing on the sand river at 7.30 am with an estimated 2,000 animals that crossed from South to North. On the 30th at Sand River at 2.30pm before the wildebeest crossed there were 30 Thomson Gazelles that crossed then an hour later and estimated 3,000 Wildebeest crossed the River moving North East towards the reserve, meanwhile a small herd of zebra crossed at the Mara bridge. At the Paradise main crossing point there was an estimated 5,000 resident Wildebeest that had crossed from east to west at approximately 12.15pm. On the 31st in the late morning at the main crossing points at paradise there was a small crossing of zebra and then an hour later a few more wildebeest, by late evening there was huge build up at the main crossing points and at the mortuary crossing points. 

 

Photo courtesy of David Francombe


 

Topi in large herds have been seen within the Marsh and also on Paradise Plains near the main crossing points. There are also large collective herds on Topi Plains. A Topi is a 'bite' selector and will congregate often in large numbers particularly when specific grasses are suitable. Before the onset of the rains the immediate grasslands of the Bila Shaka, Marsh and Musiara Plains were very dry and short, this had affected the yearling topi and also those wildebeest in the same age bracket, after being weaned off milk they are susceptible to change in habitat, many of these animals in this particular age group became weak and were thin and do not have the stamina of healthier animals in habitats that are more sustainable, the Spotted Hyena is an opportunistic predator who learn quickly and become more active in their predation habits.

 

The resident Buffalo herds have been residing in the Bila Shaka and on the East Marsh grasslands, some of the older solitary bulls that are within the West side of the Marsh are become very habituated with the lack of rain and grass levels being low, sadly two old bulls died.

 

Hippos who are resident in the Mara river and also a fair number in the waterways of the Marsh are also seen spending longer times out to feed, with older bulls staying out for quite some time, an average hippo needs at least 60kg of grass matter per night, if grass levels are too short hippos will travel longer distances to gain what is needed.

 

More Elephant have been seen arriving into the Marsh and this has been a good sign. Small related herds moved back and forth between the trans Mara and the reserve. There are also many young calves within these breeding herds, there have also been some large musth bull elephant that have moved into where these breeding herds reside. Some of these elephant will be seen in the camps at night, being catholic feeders they are fond of the bark and leaves of the warburgia and Teclea species.

 

Elephant will also move and travel great distances in search for water and fodder, they are partial to the acacia tree species in the conservancies, of which the Acacia Gerradii and Nilotica species are favoured. 


Photo courtesy of James Townsend


 

Giraffe are also being seen within the reserve within the Marsh woodlands, Giraffe will also travel great distances in search of food, since they are browsers the acacia woodlands are good places to see them. Older dominant breeding males will eat the hot peppery leaves of the warburgia tree and also those of the scented croton dichogamus (Euphorbiaceae) shrubs. Elands Bulls will also eat the leaves of the croton shrub. 

 

Photo courtesy of James Townsend

 

Impala breeding herds are scattered within the woodland areas of the river and Marsh with females in cohesive groups. Impala bachelor herds will be seen within the periphery of these breeding herds, older rams jostle for recognition by sparring with each other and 'roaring' by high ranking males

 

Olive Baboon are also being seen daily in large troops yet their daily habits have also been compromised with an early start in the morning and venturing further out for foraging. Older breeding and dominant males will eat the fawns of Impala and Thompson Gazelles, ground birds are also taken. 

 

Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes


 

Surprisingly many Grants Gazelles will also be seen within the Marsh grasslands on both sides of the marsh, particularly good numbers will be seen in the west side of the marsh and close to the woodland areas of the river. Thompson Gazelles on the other hand prefer shorter grasslands that are also more open, female Thomson with a short gestation of 5-51/2 months can have up to two offspring per year, although unfortunately predation on these fawns is high with Martial Eagles, cheetah and Black Backed Jackals playing a major role.

 

There are Black backed Jackal pups around with Bila Shaka, Paradise Plains and Topi Plains with an average of 3 pups per litter so far seen, Sexual dimorphism is not pronounced in the dog of Black Backed Jackals so maternal care of the offspring is catered for by both parents. The side stripped Jackal pair that could be seen on the north fan of Rhino ridge were being seen earlier on in the month, these Jackals also compete with the Black Backed Jackal, 15 years ago there were more confirmed sightings of Side stripped Jackals from Bila Shaka and to Paradise plains.

 

Two sightings of a male Black Rhino have been seen on the paradise plains, it is the same Black Rhino each time and he will cross the river to the trans Mara often.


 

Two sightings of caracal have been seen at paradise near the main crossing, there are many rocks in this area and caracal will be drawn here for Hyrax and ground birds. Serval cat sightings have been good although last month seemingly more. Paradise plains and Rhino ridge are good places for them.


 

Spotted Hyena activity has been high with the Wildebeest and Topi yearlings being available. Large clans of Hyena can be found on Rhino Ridge, Paradise plains, Topi plains and particularly at Bila Shaka there is a large and active clan of over 50 members. At present with no pride males in the resident lion prides Spotted Hyena can be a problematic enemy for the Marsh lion. 

 

Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes

 

With the wildebeest and zebra that have been passing back and forth this does increase the scarab beetle activity and also with the amount of dung scattered about the Bat Eared Fox is becoming more regularly seen, they are an insectivorous candid and have as many as 53 teeth more than any other hetorodont mammal and also with a well developed digastric muscle it is able snap at 21/2 snaps per second!!. They also eat a range of termites species in particular with the the harvester termites (Hodotermitidae) who are an ancient, old world family of termites that are also drawn to bovine dung which is cellulous processed in a different way. Good times to see bat eared foxes are late evening or early morning as they love to warm themselves up from the cold working hours of nightfall. Bat-eared foxes generally mate for life, and sometimes two females will mate with one male and share a communal den. The male with similar habits to that of Black Back Jackals is very invested in the rearing of young, and he spends a great deal of time caring for them.


 

While the male is watching over the cubs, the mother is then free to forage for food, though an insectivorous diet is low in nutrition and cannot be regurgitated for the young, the mother does have the necessary amount of food needed to produce milk for the cubs.

Warthog sows are now being seen on Rhino Ridge and Paradise Plains and have started farrowing with an average of 3-4 piglets per litter. Females' warthog live in groups known as 'sounders' with their young and with other females who are often related. Related females stay in their natal groups, while males leave, but will stay within the home range. Sub adult males will associate in bachelor groups, but leave each alone when they become adults. Adult boars will only join sounders with oestrous females. Warthogs have two facial glands - the tusk gland and the sebaceous gland. Warthogs of both sexes begin to mark around six to seven months old. 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes


 

Cats

 

Marsh pride of 36 lion altogether with an additional three young cubs who are two months old from Madomo and her sister, earlier last month they had seven between themselves and it was noticed mid month that Madomo left the area where she gave birth and moved overnight onto Rhino Ridge it was here that guides noticed she had only one cub. During the same period of time the sister was seen half way down the river bed that leads into Paradise Plains and again had left the same area where she had given birth. The sister then had only one cub so we are all unsure what has happened to four cubs and where they the result of other pride members converging too close?


 

There are the 8 sub adult comprising six lionesses and two males Red and Tatu, they are all of varying age groups with five at 21 months and three of them at 24 months of age, the three core lionesses Bibi, Siena, Charm and the four musketeers. The little sub-adult lioness whose mother is Bibi is called 'Kabibi' meaning of Bibi. Kini another breakaway lioness still has her four cubs who are a little over two months old. Breakaway lioness Musiara has her two cubs who are three months old and breakaway Lippy has three cubs who are now 11 months old now. Core pride lioness Siena has her three cubs that are eight months old of which two are females and one is a male. 

  

On the 26th on the West side of the Marsh Lippy and Kini nearly lost their cubs from three Male Buffalo who dispersed them on the intent of killing cubs, Kini's cubs are more susceptible as they are only two months old so do not have the stamina and co-ordination of older and stronger cubs. This is typical of Bovid and predator aggression, it is not uncommon for Cape Buffalo to kill lion cubs and also adult Lion if they get the upper hand. It is still very important for a pride to have the pride male/males that do play a strong role for the safety and security of their lionesses and offspring. Lion and spotted Hyena compete for habitat and prey species, Hyena will over run lionesses at a kill sight but the tables turn when a pride male is present and if over a feeding frenzy they will kill Hyena as what happened on the 31st at 08.00 when Scar killed a Hyena on the north east side of the Marsh. 

 

Photo courtesy of James Townsend


 

The four musketeers have spent 90% of their time in the Trans Mara conservancy and cross the river at Paradise or near the Kichwa Tembo crossing. Scar and Hunter are the two lions that more often seen on the Paradise plains or again near the lower end of the Bila Shaka. Morani has been seen twice this side of the reserve while Sikio again is also seldom seen this side.

 

All the Marsh lionesses, cubs and sub adults frequent the Marsh and the lower end of the Bila Shaka areas, they are feeding off the wildebeest and Zebra that have been passing through, a buffalo cow was taken in the east side of the Marsh and also a young Hippo. Warthog have also been taken and in lean times play a major role in lion subsistence.

 

On the 22nd afternoon Siena was in the west side of the marsh area and close by were Lippy and two other breakaways, in the morning of the 23rd Siena was noticed in the east side of the Marsh and her wound which was almost healed had been re-opened, she also had bite and scratch marks on both her back legs. At 1.30pm the David Sheldrick Wildlife trust team and the Kenya wild life service vet Dr Limo arrived and had Siena stitched up by 2.40pm. We suspect that she was in a fracas with the other breakaways. There was the remains of a wildebeest that had been killed and further up the marsh reeds was the remains of a young Hippo that was partially eaten.


 

Latterly this month there is another male being seen in the paradise area and this is the male that the Vet team removed a testicle in June of this year and it appears he is now back. He has been seen frequently even close to the lower end of the Bila Shaka, with the four Musketeers who are exerting more of their time in the Trans Mara we will have to wait and see what transpires next in this area of the Mara reserve.


 

 

Leopard


 

Romi; the female resident leopard has been seen a few times again this month mainly along the woodland line between the camps, she will also be seen in the copse of trees on the west side of the marsh but depending on lion, movements will influence a Leopards movements.

Romi's male offspring who is now 22 months old has been seen in the wooded areas south of where he was brought up. On the 24th he was seen near the Hippo pool with the remains of a female Impala up a warburgia tree.

 

The female Leopard 'Siri' at the Serena pump area had two cubs last month and is now only got the one cub who is is now two months old, guides here are not quite sure what happened to the other cub. 


Photo courtesy of Sandra Vincent


 

The male of the paradise crossing areas has been seen in the croton thickets at the mortuary crossing points again and it seems this quiet male plans his migration around this time of the year!!


 

The large male at the lower end of the Bila Shaka has been seen again this month. He has had two yearling wildebeest of which on the morning of the 18th one of them he lost to five spotted Hyena before he had a chance to take his prey up a tree.


 

Cheetah


 

Malaika has been seen near Hammer Kop and the Topi crossing area and she still has six cubs that are only six weeks old. Malaika and her cubs are being cordoned off by the rangers temporarily so that they don't get harassed by cars. 

 

Photo courtesy of James Townsend


 

The Two male brothers have been seen from Rhino Ridge as far as the conservation areas beyond the double crossing. On the 15th they were seen with a yearling wildebeest on the north side of Rhino Ridge. Earlier on in the month they were seen across the top plains of Rhino Ridge.


 

The young male who is the son of Malaika was seen often near Bila Shaka and Rhino ridge, he like his mother often climbs onto the back of game drive vehicles.


 

A young female is being seen near Topi plains and she was also being seen in the conservation areas of Masai land earlier on the month, on the 12th and 18th she was seen hunting Thompson gazelles on Topi plains. 

  

With poor rains here game movements have been sporadic and cheetah will move around depending on habitat and livestock movement.

 

Narasha with her four cubs who are over a month old are being seen on the south fan of Rhino ridge, She is feeding off Thomson Gazelle and Grants Gazelle.


 

 

Walking in the Mara North Conservancy.


 

Cool mornings and hot days with a few mornings of lovely sunrises. Rainfall has been poor in this area this month, with grasses being very short. 

  

Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes


 

Wildebeest and zebra have moved back and forth on the open grassland plains. Earlier on in the month there were good numbers of wildebeest and zebra seen crossing the Olare Orok River moving west so they would have come from the Naibosho and other conservancies in the south east. Later on the month more numbers started to come on through with an estimated 10,000 animals seen crossing the Olare Orok river in three stages. Many of these Wildebeest have now moved into the Masai Mara Reserve and are all well spread out across the Bila Shaka and Musiara plains. 
 

Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes


 

Topi are well scattered as rainfall in this area has been poor in comparison to other areas in Masai land. Elephant started to come back in the latter weeks with some large herds coming in from the south east along the Acacia woodlands on the ridges. On the 25th large herds of Elephant were seen moving through the Top acacia woodlands and eating their way through the Acacia Gerradii. Two large musth bull elephants have been passing through during the course of the month.


 

Buffalo seem to reside in the Euclea thickets near the salt lick with solitary males being habituated close to the river and on the white Highland ridge. 


 


 
Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes


 

Spotted Hyena have been very active on the yearling wildebeest with at least two every day, as the prevalent grasses being short dry due to poor rainfalls there is very to keep the freshly weaned wildebeest in good stamina, many have succumbed to being run down by Hyena in a relatively short time.


 

Thomson and grants gazelles are on the open plains with Impala herds being more concentrated by the river confluences.


 

Giraffe are also being seen in the acacia woodlands close to the river and moving between acacia woodland species. Cokes Hartebeest are also being seen in the same habitat as the Impala, it appears that the two go hand in hand. Latterly rainfall in the South East area of the Mara North conservation area on the Lower Olare Orok river has received reasonable rainfall and this has increased grass growth which has brought in Hartebeest, Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala and also good numbers of Giraffe. This particular part of the conservation reserve is extremely pretty and looks like an Oasis with a patterned staged golf course. 7

 

Photo courtesy of Michael McInnes


 

Bat eared foxes are also being seen with the early mornings being good times to see them whilst they sun themselves in the warm early morning sun. Their insectivorous diet tends to keep them from a reasonable thermal regulating system so it is not uncommon to see Bat eared foxes sunning themselves in the early morning sun. More influx of Harvester termites(Hodotermitidae) and this is perhaps the influence of more herbivore dung. There are two large latrine sites of Aardwolves and these animals being insectivores again like the Bat eared fox are nocturnal in their feeding habitats with the harvest termite being a favourable and sustainable food source.


 

African Ponerine ants (Megaponera Foetens) who feed almost exclusively on termites are also being more active in their foraging movements or else moving columns to new bivouac sites. These ants are most easily identified from other subfamilies by a constricted gaster (abdomen) and are typical examples of stinging ants. Megaponera foetens conduct well organized group raids on termites. Observations of raids indicate that recruitment is based on a scout system and the use of trail pheromones. One component of the trail pheromone signal derives from the poison glands that are attached to the stinger in the ovipositor at the end of the gaster(tail).


 

Bohor's reed buck are also being seen close to wooded areas since their preferred habitat is that of long coarse grasses associated with poorly drained soils, marshes and watered areas.

 

Cape scrub hares have also being seen more readily with short grasses and perhaps habitat loss due to climatically poor conditions? Large birds of prey with particular attention to the Martial eagle which is the largest savannah raptor here will be subsistent on hares and fawns of Thompson Gazelles. 

 

Photo courtesy of James Townsend


 

Two Warthog sows have piglets in this conservation with 4-5 piglets each. In most areas of the Mara Serengeti ecosystem there is an average of 45% mortality rate on piglets before they reach 5 months old. 

 

 

Lions in battle


 

By Laurent and Dominique in Animal Encounters

 

During a recent trip to Kenya's Maasai Mara we had some spectacular encounters with lions.


The first encounter happened on Paradise Plain where we can across four male lions, also known as the four musketeers; Scarface, Hunter, Sikio and Morani. These four lions are the dominant lions in the area. When we spotted them Hunter was mating. After he had finished with his mate, the lioness walked toward a bush where Sikio was lying. When the lioness approached Sikio, Hunter rushed toward his brother and attacked him. They proceeded to fight for several minutes before backing down, leaving both lions with serious wounds. 


 

 




 

Our second magical lion encounter at the Maasai Mara involved a flying lioness at Musiara Marsh. Three lionesses were badgering a buffalo at the waterhole when suddenly the boldest lioness attempted a dramatic leap at the buffalo. The buffalo started to run tailing a flying lioness behind. Luckily the lioness was not hurt and the buffalo managed to escape into deeper waters that the lionesses did not want to cross into. 


 


 




 



 

About Laurent and Dominique


 

Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution are teachers and photographers living in northern France. They first discovered Africa in 1982 and have returned every year since to photograph African wildlife. Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are their favourite countries. They regularly accompany travel groups on their voyage of discovery through the wonderful continent of Africa characterized by such a wide variety moods and character, sharing their passion for wildlife and photography along the way. Together with friend Bertrand Martel they have published three photographic books on Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania. The first one on Kenya - Wild open spaces in Samburuland- has been awarded best photographic book of the year. Like them on Facebook or visit their website to see more.


 

A new giraffe drops into the world

 

Written by: Andreas Knausenberger

 

After spending the morning watching some hyena cubs playing with their mom in the Mara Triangle, we saw three giraffes in the distance. We decided to get closer so we could take some pictures of these amazing animals in the perfect morning light. When we approached the three giraffes we noticed something special.

 

We could see something dark hanging out of one giraffe and we immediately realised that she was in labour. Not to disturb the animal we waited a good distance away from the giraffes. It was really interesting to watch as the other giraffes guarded the one in labour, keeping an eye on the surrounding area. We were worried that the nearby hyaenas would arrive due to the smell, but luckily the hyaenas were busy with their own cubs and disappeared in the opposite direction.


 

After about 15 to 20 minutes the tired giraffe went down on her knees and even sat down. A while later she got back up and then the small giraffe came out bit by bit until it finally fell into the new world. During the two metre drop, the calf rotated and fell on its back. Only seconds later the newborn lifted its head and the mother started cleaning it carefully.


The other giraffes immediately came to welcome the calf into the world and they bent their long necks to take a closer look. Several times the calf tried to get on its feet but failed because of the slippery and wet soil. After half an hour it finally managed to get up on its long legs and the mother pushed the calf into the right position to suckle milk for the first time.

 



 

 


 


 


 

The heartwarming story of two orphaned elephants

 

Posted by David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

 

Meet Murit

 

Rescued from a well on 11th July in Kenya, tiny Murit was spotted by a herder, who reported him to the Kenya Wildlife Service. They rescued him from the well at 6pm, too late for our rescue teams to get to him and he spent the night at Namunyak Conservancy. 

 


 

Having not drunk anything during the night, he downed two bottles when the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescue team arrived. He had lots of bruises from the well and a lot of dirt in his eyes, and a bacterial infection which we are treating. Blood tests reveal the infection has now reduced, which is encouraging. Murit is spending his days out with the other nursery babies in the bush, which is lovely to witness. 


 

Our latest rescue, Ndotto


 

Peeking out from underneath blankets, is Ndotto, a new born elephant so young he thought a herd of cows were his family. 


 


 

Rescued from the remote Ndoto Mountains in Northern Kenya on Thursday 7th August, the tiny new born and his herd had become entangled in a group of livestock belonging to Samburu community, which caused the herd to panic. Left behind, the youngster (who was just hours old) followed the herders and cows home, thinking they were his family; he was too young to know any different.

With a fresh umbilical cord and ears still pink and having not yet mastered how to walk, the Samburu community cared for him overnight and the following morning set off on a 24 hour journey by foot down the mountainside to find help.

 

Due to the remoteness of the location, a helicopter was chartered to get Ndotto to the safe haven of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's elephant nursery (DSWT) which specialises in caring for orphaned baby elephants.


 

"Ndotto is one of only four elephant orphans to be transported via helicopter directly to the DSWT's nursery, upon arrival he was carried off the aircraft. At no more than 50kg, the keepers could easily carry him in their outstretched arms before they laid him in blankets in the stockades providing special formula milk and a glucose drip." says Rob Brandford, director of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

 

  

Named 'Ndotto' after the place of his rescue, he will be given elephant plasma which is vital to trigger his immune system, especially if he did not have a chance to ingest his mother's milk. 

 

 

Says Rob Brandford: "Unfortunately, whilst he was cared for by Samburu community, he was fed cow's milk - potentially life threatening for elephants, who cannot tolerate this type of milk. We'll do all we can to remedy any side effects and be by his side all the way through the weeks, months and hopefully years to come." 


 



 

A rescue mission like this is a huge financial cost, and until his reintegration little Ndotto will require full time care and support. To donate to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Emergency Appeal for funds to support his care, and others who need rescuing, please go to www.sheldrickwildifetrust.org

 

 

About David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

 

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that complement the conservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, wildlife veterinary assistance, community outreach, safe guarding the natural environment and the rescue and hand rearing of elephant and rhino orphans.


 

 


 

BREAKING NEWS: Lewa and Borana Remove Fence to Form the Biggest Rhino Sanctuary in the Country

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and its western neighbour Borana Conservancy are to drop the fence separating the two properties to form 93,000 acres of prime black rhino habitat

 

Starting September 2014, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy andBorana Conservancy will embark on the process of removing the fence separating the two areas to create one conservation landscape for the benefit of the critically endangered black rhino.This is the first time in Kenya that two privately owned and run organisations have undertaken such a move for the benefit of one of the country's most threatened species.

 

Lewa is the pioneer private wildlife sanctuary in East Africa, established in 1983 as the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary. Borana is the newest black rhino sanctuary in Kenya, having received its founding population of 21 animals last year in August. 11 of the rhino came from Lewa and the other 10 from Lake Nakuru National Park. 

 

"With the fence removed, the Lewa - Borana landscape will top 93,000 acres, establishing the single biggest private rhino conservation reserve in Kenya and readying the area to become a 'Key 1 population', as defined by the African Rhino Specialist Group, an advisory body of the IUCN, once it tops the 100 black rhino mark. This is projected to occur in the next two years - the two areas currently have a combined black rhino population of 88. Lewa is also home to 63 white rhin and these will also benefit from the expanded habitat," explains Lewa's CEO, Mike Watson. 


Borana's Managing Director Michael Dyer adds:
"The Borana Conservancy has been working closely with The Kenya Wildlife Service and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy under the Conservation and Management Strategy for Black Rhino in Kenya 2012-2016 and we are delighted to have achieved this important goal of providing additional secure habitat for rhino. This is a hugely important and progressive step and adds a further 50% to
Lewa's landscape available for rhino in a creative and exciting partnership between all parties." 



The two organisations would like to thank all the supporters and partners, notably the Kenya Wildlife Service, who has been involved in making this landmark event possible. 


 

 


11/Sep/2014

Strong winds and rough seas persist


 

Written by David Slater "Honeylulu"


 

The strong winds have continued in fishing areas, leading to rough seas and cold green water, not ideal conditions for fishing, but a few boats have had clients and are finding fish.


 

The North Kenya Banks is a long way offshore, but recent trips have shown that it is well worth the long run. Clueless had a great day catching over 600kgs of yellowfin tuna with a biggest fish of 73.5kgs for Eric van Vliet, while White Mischief had another good trip with 593kgs of these tunny - the fish all running over the 20kg mark so one needs strong anglers!


 

Fishing from Watamu, Tarka raised two black marlin on live baits, and were successful in catching one of them. Interestingly, it was released with a satellite tag provided by the African Billfish Foundation so in three months we should hear what this fish has done after the release, as most of the tagged marlin have been released in the NE monsoon when the currents can be very different. Earlier in the week the same boat had a good day with a big catch of yellowfin, while Ol Jogi that day tagged two sailfish and caught two wahoo for anglers Ian Loynds and Cassandra Lota on a morning trip. That afternoon, the same boat went out again to catch two yellowfin and a wahoo with Jacobo and Allessandro.


 

Inca went out from Mombasa with Marcus, Bianca and friends, and caught a 20kg wahoo, and they were lucky to also spot several humpback whales, a nice bonus to their fishing trip. Whale watching is very popular in many parts of the world, without the additional fun of catching fish!


 

The Malindi Festival is due to be fished over the holiday weekend In October, this is the first tournament of the year and is a very popular event. When this tournament was started, over fifty years ago, all fish were rated at the same score per kilo, but these days more points are awarded for sailfish and marlin than for tuna, wahoo, dorado and kingfish. One wonders if equal points for all fish might give more encouragement for small private boats to enter and perhaps upset the dominance of the big, professional boats in most competitions.