Well …. Probably the best place on earth to be at the moment is in the Milgis, Northern Kenya.. I almost feel bad about being here, when I read how crazy people are going, isolated in their houses!.. But any way I hope every one is surviving and enjoying down time.. I certainly am although slightly worried about when the next safari will be??!!!.. Anyway for now I’m enjoying watching birds, listening to them singing all day, I’ve even joined ‘the Kenya bird map’ atlasing the birds in the area. I’m enjoying the insects, including an incredible flypast of locusts!, lizards, snakes, lions, leopards, Elephants and more .. And if theres nothing moving around i can look at the ever changing view!
There has been a lot of lions roaring and making quite a noise for the last year but could we see them??? No way.. Finally there he was one early morning, just sitting there!!!! He’s just beautiful..
Soon we could see there was some thing bothering him up stream.. It must be his rival.. He was so focused on the rival he let his guard down, and he showed himself.. and WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BOY HE IS!
Hours and hours have been spent sitting on this rock over the last year or so looking out for these clever lions.. Every one wants to see them!
The next evening I saw the guys gathering on the rocks again!..
SOOOOO Who else is around!!
Following is issues and challenges that our scouts are reporting from the February Milgis managers info!..
I know its rather long but if you want to understand the ‘Milgis’ work a little more, it gives you more of an idea of how we work!! and as you are locked down theres not alot else to do!!
The month of February unlike the previous years was not as dry and dusty. Usually this is the hottest and driest month with water shortages biting hard. Many places had rains here and there. The locust migrations continued all over with new borns now on the move.
This month we had meetings with the units , and their leaders.. ( The Milgis scouts are divided into four groups, with aprox 15-18 persons, Scouts and Ilkiramats ( informers/caretakers of the land) in each unit.. The unit names are..
‘Ndoto’.. covering all of the Mountain, and the foothills to the west, north and north/east of the Ndoto mountains.. except Ngurnit area
‘Elkerei’ ( meaning Milgis Lugga in Samburu).. covering the Latakwen area, and down the Milgis Lugga both banks..
‘Lkees’ (Desert).. from Ngurnit, up the East side of the Ndotos to Donyo Mara and Nyiru and out to Kargi, on the edge of the Chalbi desert..
‘Seiya’ Covering the north end of the Matthews (Lenkiyou), and Nairimirimo location to Suyian
Some of the issues discussed follows..
Ndoto unit meeting at Langata Dapash in Urra area ..
- Logging (ceder) in Kasipo; the unit reported that there is still logging going on in the area and it is done by one family. The unit gave their opinion of the family as a very stubborn one that has decided to go against the entire community that had agreed to stop logging. The unit mentioned the family name and asked for assistance from the forest service or KWS
- elephants had started coming to the area and there are no conservation issues. There is plenty of water and pasture in the area.
- The unit also discussed about visitors coming to the area who did not inform Helen of their intentions.. It becomes very tricky if left in the hands of the community who create issues.. Those who find the visitors will claim they found them and the money they pay is theirs.They also said this will expose tourists/visitors to wrong doers in the community and issues of harassment or disturbance will become common. ( If you want to visit any areas where the Milgis covers, PLEASE CHECK OUR POLICY’s on our website http://www.milgistrust.com/ecotourism (To be posted soon))
- The unit reported complaints from the water projects security guards but the issue was discussed and the communities were advised to make sure water is paid for and the systems taken care of properly.
LKEES and LKEREI unit
These two units decided to do their meeting together at Mpagas area.
- Both reported plenty of pasture and water in their area and that wildlife have no problem in this area.
- The Lkiramat from Ldonyo mara gave a report from the astrologer in Nyiro who said there is going to be plenty of rain in the entire county and more on the higher lands. He also mentioned that the goat’s disease would get better by the new moon.
- The Lkiramat also informed the team that the ostrich killing for feathers and meat has not stopped fully and one could see many female ostriches with very few male. This made the units decides that the March patrol will go to the desert and find out more on this.
- The Nyiro scout reported that there were only two elephants in the area and seven were said to have moved towards Kulal
- The Sererit Lkiramat reported that there are elephants in Pariany area of sererit. He said that they were not coming down but stay on the slopes. He commended his community for waking up and said they had started supporting him unlike the previous years.
- The Kurkum scout reported plenty of pasture and water in his area. He reported that recently bullet shots were heard in the Lenkiyou and their search revealed nothing but they found cooking place and his assessment was that the two people were after buffaloes for game meat. He reported that elephants have come back and are still in the Milgis.
- In Matepes all is said to be ok and both livestock and wildlife are happy. The scout reported that there is a lion who has stayed in the area and killed a camel in Lchoro area. The scout also reported that they are monitoring the movement of a man they said looks suspicious, who was seen in the area.
- A meeting in Nonchura was held to discuss about the camping fees that some visitors paid direct to the community in stead of paying them into the Latakwen community account. The Nonchura community was very arrogant and ridiculed the leaders. The community initially refused to accept they had stolen the camping fees but after a lot of persuasions and discussions, they agreed and said they will meet and share with the community how they are going to repay the money.
- In Illaut plenty of water and pasture was reported . The scout reported that grant gazelles are coming close.
- Elephants are back in Maragi, which is still green, and with plenty of water.
- In Kargi the scout reported that there is a looming conflict between the Gabra and the Rantile. The scout said the conflict is due to an attack by a gang from Samburu who stole camels. The Gabra claimed that the Rantile were allowing the Samburu to come through them. The scout reported that elephants went to Kurkum and Yiel areas. He informed his colleagues that wildlife have moved west of Kargi as it is greener there.
- In Raraiti all Lororas finished with the boys ceremonies and are now back in their normal way of life.
- Wild dogs disturbing people in the area.
- In Nchoro nadua leopard and 2 wild dogs harassing peoples’ livestock
- Lions making Leamo their home and no longer leave that area.
- In Nkare narok, lions and elephants are only visiting the area on their way up and down the Lenkiyou.
- In Nadooto the people who had moved in from Loile and Suiyan area have moved back to Laalawa on their way back home
- Lions followed the Barsaloi lugga and killed a camel at the junction of Leonti.
- In Loisike area common cold and Malaria outbreak is reported. Elephants have come back to the area.
- In Nairimirimo one buffalo was seen in Nalmancheri area.
- Cattle have moved out of Nairimirimo due to an outbreak of a disease that is said to cause stiffness in cattle.
- Gerenuk are reported back at Nairimieimo
- The scout in the area reported that in places where the Tractor did Trenches beautiful grass grew.
- The unit discussed about the Lkiramat from Sware who has refused to attend the unit meetings and the entire unit decided to stop him and get someone to replace him from that area.
- The unit reported that some of the sandal wood that was left in Nkare narok is being taken through Laarapa by use of small cars. The unit agreed to try to get these cars and report the people doing the business.
- The unit complained that the operators are leaving the radio and sometimes they call the base and get no response. The manager agreed to talk to the operators.
From the manager …. He commended the units and all the staff for the effort in conservation and asked them to keep it up. He asked them to maintain discipline and respect for their job and one another. He stressed on the need to talk to the community about natural resources within their area and not to allow outsiders to exploit the resources. He asked the scouts and Lkiramat to talk to the community about the water projects to remove the confusion that the projects are closed down. All that has changed is most of the projects are more than 6 years old and now the communities themselves will be raising the money locally to pay their project guards.. Its a good thing for the communities as this is a start to learning how to keep their own project running. The manager thanked the two Lkiramats for moving to Ladukan and Losike as discussed and agreed in the previous meeting… end of report!
Other wise we have been watching in awe the most incredible lightning storms.. not a lot of rain though yet..
And the moon with a very strange kind of rainbow around it..
Our last safari in March was cut short by the threat that the main airport in Nairobi would close down due to ‘Corona’… Strange times indeed.. But at least we had a great walk down the Milgis and into the South end of the Ndotos.. , and by the way my hip is now 100 % .. Incredible not even 3 months..
In the mean time we have had the most fantastic sunrises and sunsets..
And down on the lugga its business as usual!!
Then my little prize for being patient!! I was sitting on the rock and heard my neibours, the baboons barking a warning and there he was.. a beautiful leopard! we’ve never seen one from the hill!! The picture is just an artistic impression as it was almost dark and a long way away!!.. but just had to show you he was there!!
Lesser kudus frequent the luggas every day.. Just the most perfect animal!
What amazing news and fabulous images as ever!
Ah Helen – I would give anything to be where you are at the moment!! Those wonderful, evocative photos take me back to my amazing safari. How exciting to see a leopard, and the lions are stunning, as are the kudu (my favourite buck). Considering we didn’t see a single mammal when I was there, it is heart warming to see the number there now. I just love the ellies and it’s great to hear that there is enough water and pasture. So glad to hear your hip is fine – must be all the walking. Keep well and safe. xx