This was sadly the situation this March 2015 up in the Ndoto mountains.. The sight of the fires was just so terrible that of course I did not think of taking pictures.. this was the sight at night, every day another fire..
It is difficult to deal with fires as no one actually lives on the mountain, except in the dry season people take their cattle up to graze the slopes. Once a fire has taken off it is impossible to stop as the slopes are very very steep and the winds are unbelievably strong coming from the deserts in the east, so a tiny fire is huge with in minutes.. Some fires were caused accidentally by honey harvesters, this year there was a bumper crop of honey, and sadly people are casual about dropping the fire that they light to smoke out the bees.. This we are addressing every day..
Some fires were lit deliberately to antagonise others as a result of political disagreements, and tracing them was difficult and dangerous. The perpetrators threatened anyone who tried to approach the problem. BUT Our manager, and scouts together with the elders, have been dealing with the problem in their quiet way, holding community meetings, and the results are very positive, in that the elders, who were very angry, took up the challenge and consequently charged some hefty fines on the 5 families involved to address this problem.
and this is the result..
Other challenges.. in february we climbed up into the Ndotos and by chance came across this Ceder tree that had been cut down.. So again our scouts have been following up on this to see where it is being taken to..
Our poor mountain… …. It looks sad here..
Its been very dry over the last few months, and worrying times for our Elephants getting to water.. Luckily he escaped falling in..
During the dry time earlier this year we lost two young elephants. One approx. 2 year old, fell into a water hole head first and died immediately. (the remains in this picture is all thats left by the hyenas) We are doing all we can to avoid these incidences, by covering as many wells as possible but the elephants are determined, sometimes removing the sticks, or even trying to drink from very deep wells – as above!. The elephants survive during these dry spells from wells dug by the Samburu and Rendille people,, and often completely ruin the wells, but the people are very accommodating… We thank them for that and in our next blog we cover some of the subjects on the benefits the people are getting to try to appease so that every one lives together.. The Milgis Trust was set up to save the elephants from a repeat of the poaching times in the 1970 and 80s , and to give them space and a peaceful place to live so actually the benefits to the people comes directly from the elephants, as this picture below depicts.. It is on the wall of our nursary school that we built in Latakwen for every one to see..
The other death, an approx. 1 year old, was found on his own, and picked up by some herd boys who got frightened, so released him, unfortunately before they reported to us. Our scouts followed up, but were hampered by the extremely thick bush on the Luggas, and then the difficulty of confirming whether his mother was with the herd he joined. Yet, all seemed to be under control and he appeared to be eating well but, unfortunately, he left the herd and was later seen with two male elephants. Before we could get help for him, he was killed by hyenas.
Sadly also a mother and new born calf were found dead in the North/East of the Matthews, but its seems she must have died through birth complications.. There was no sign of ‘foul play’