conversation on conservation!.. + ‘our’ desert giraffes..

WE CAN LIVE TOGETHER!!

Action.. Schools.. the Government schools are rather drab and unexciting and our scouts try to lift the spirits of the students by talking about every day life with nature, and where they MUST NOT GO WRONG!!

All the scouts are going round all the schools and talking conservation!!.. The postcard he is showing them is the above and explaining to the schools the importance of keeping all livings things safe .. and how to live in peace with the neighbours!..
morning assembly.. Latakwen primary school.. the scout from the area talking conservation..

For some reason ??!! Children are nervous when they see people in uniform, SO its important to teach them the conservation rules, and to make them realise that the Milgis scouts are friendly as long they follow them.. Milgis has very clear rules… live peacefully with your environment!! Don’t burn the forests, don’t throw litter, respect wild life, etc etc!

All the scouts visiting the schools to explain their work and the importance of CONSERVATION!
Loduar school
Lesirikan school..
Lesirikan

Noonchura school.. a visit to the school with Suzanne who has supported it right through, from the beginning..

Off to Noonchura nursery… this beautiful little eco-school was built in memory of a dear lady in America called Carlene Garrison.. through ‘Wanaduma’
Heres her daughter Susanne handing out conservation material, ..exercise books etc
Introducing the dogs to the children was quite a nonsense!
Wilson the teacher is a good man and is incredibly kind to these little ones!..

Milgis mostly likes to support schools under the trees with good views and surrounded by birds, and animals..

Milgis sponsored little schools under the trees in amongst nature
learning the alphabet in the bush!
break!.. a drink of water

Sponsoring children to secondary school.. the primary schools are almost free, but when they leave what THEN???? is the big question.. So the Milgis steps in to help where we can.. this young girl being a lucky one ..

This splendid old man came with his daughter and asked for help to send her to school.. do you think we could have refused!!
Jacinta just finished her nursing course… Thanks to you amazing supporters.. Shes VERY grateful

THE DROUGHT.. That luckily has finally ended.. It started raining on the 29th November MUCH TO EVERY ONES RELIEF!!

Camel invasion!! coming in from the east, from Marsabit county..
Herds and Herds and Herds of livestock heading up the Milgis lugga looking for some thing to eat..

This time the drought was bad, really bad.. the rains failed almost every where in Northern Kenya in April/May, and then the rain that should have started mid October was 6 weeks late… thousands of animals especially livestock .. cows, sheep goats died and now the rains have come all the weak ones are falling off their perches.. including many of these beautiful European rollers..

hundreds, thousands died on there way south.. a pitiful sight.. so sad to watch them floundering .. It seems they just could not find any thing to eat.. until they got to the Ndotos, and now they were too weak..

sadly below a couple of Images of what happens when there’s a drought..

human/wildlife conflict and guess who didn’t survive.. all he wanted was a drink..
AND sadly another elephant calf in a well.. ( I have some very sad news that the little one that was mentioned in my last blog has died )

All I can say is there would be many more if it wasn’t for the hard work of all our scouts racing down to the luggas early morning, to check all the wells for any mishaps in the night, and staying till late evening to try to cover the dangerous ones up..

This one also eventually had to go to Reteti as the herd again was no where to be seen.. Sadly in these stressful times mothers, all mothers are deserting their babies because of the drought..

Another tiny little elephant calf found in the Ndoto hills near Arsim, had fallen down a very steep hill side, and had been deserted by mum and some community members found it, but too late.. It died just as they were getting to help 15 hours later..

This beautiful lesser kudu young.. also we think deserted by its mother.. or its mother was killed by lion we are not sure.. literally on its first day.. It was found by the manyatta’s in Ilke Eldome.. sadly also did not make it..

Fires…. Also terrible forest fires were lit again in the Ndoto Mountains.. ahhhhhhhhhhpphhh …. Burning the foot hills, and with the huge desert winds whistling up through the mountains it burns all the way up into the valuable forests… VERY SAD again.. BUT the perpetrators have received hefty fines and some of their own cows were burn’t, so hopefully one day this will STOP forever.. We are making a film to explain the remifecations ( I’m sure that word exists?) of burning to the communities.. it will be on our website soon!

Rabies Vaccinations.. To try to stop this awful disease so that people can live peacefully with their dogs and of course, then it does not spread…

A huge and very important part of our Milgis work is endeavouring to inject as many dogs in the area against rabies , and if we can get a quick shot of dewormer it helps.. But some of the dogs are incredibly wary.. once they know what’s up!.. BUT here’s our friend Jeff who is getting pretty fast and doesn’t miss many!, who kindly joins our vet team, which consists of Lemira the driver, ‘Daktari’.. Lpajas Lesoloyia and Mary the family planner!!

Jeff, is a vet and lives in a town, and JUST loves to get out into the bush!.. The very first time we took him north, he was speechless for quite some time… he never knew that such space existed..
Jeff doing a super fast vaccination job, on this clever dog..
Handing out cards for each dog, or cat..
Keeping the all important records

PLASTIC…. This most terrible, magic useful stuff!!

The Milgis is winning on this front.. the unit leaders, scouts, ilkiramats along with their communities are really trying to STOP this horrible thing taking over our lives.. We have made a film to show the people exactly what’s going on.. Freddy Deeble and his friend Harry have been working on this for months and its going to be good! Its nearly ready and it will be on our website the moment its ready!

Beautiful picture of a sunrise BUT the sweet little house in the foreground has plastic on it!! The people put it on only when it rains, and of course it works better than any thing else… Until it breaks down and breaks up in the sun and into the soil, into the water and we know the end!!
We need to work hard to change this!..
Lemagas and I went for a walk and we picked up all this plastic on our way…
we decided to burn this lot, as it will just go off into the wind if we leave it..

GIRAFFES in the desert… This animal is quickly getting on to the endangered list world wide.. We have a beautiful group living in the desert.. We had a very positive and exciting visit from ‘SAVE GIRAFFES NOW‘, and we hope to team up to keep this population of giraffes alive and safe..

there’s a giraffe there some where.. These giraffes are really wild.. they survive in the desert and look amazing!

We sent Lesoloyia out into the desert to find them and check out the situation.. And here they are just looking magnificent and we were at the height of drought!!

he told me when he got back.. “HELEN, If we don’t do anything now then we will end up with NOTHING in the desert.. like the lbarta plains.. When I was young the plains were covered in giraffes, hartebeast, oryx, eland, gerenuk, ostriches, zebras especially Grevy’s, and grants gazelles- the latter 3 probably less than 50 of each left, if we are lucky.. all the rest have disappeared…” He said ” I didn’t have the forethought and the ableness to save that area BUT I do have it now!!! 

WE WILL NOT AND CAN NOT LET THE KAISUT/CHALBI DESERT WILDLIFE GO THE SAME WAY!!

These beautiful giraffe living in the desert

DESERT PATROL.. the managers report on a 4 day trip to look for giraffe!

On the 11th of November 2021 we set out into the desert north/east of the Ndoto Mountains in search of giraffes with 3 objectives, to try and establish how many are in the desert, if the poaching is still going on and find out the impact of drought on them. We headed off to Lempirish where we picked our Lkiramat Mr Leleshep who is familiar with the desert. We followed along Aarge lugga and spent the night towards the end of the lugga following his advice. At night a giraffe came right into our camp as though to welcome and approve what we are out to do. This gave the team more energy, to make sure we do something to save them.  Other wildlife sighted this day

  • 2 ostriches
  • 37 gerenuk
  • 17 grant gazelles
  • 10 Oryx
  • 6 dikdiks 

We covered 107 km

Day 2

We set out very early into the desert with the Lkiramat leading us into where he said we should find giraffes unless there is a serious problem. ( ie poachers causing havoc,  displaced by rantille camels, or just become too dry) After 1 hour of driving we found 2 giraffes exactly where the Lkiramat had told us we should find them, further on we found another giraffe who looked scared and ran on sighting us. We met Rantile morans herding camels and they gave us information that they usually see giraffes in the area. We decided to camp in that area so that we search it properly the following day. They also reported that recently they have been seeing very weak Oryx who are unable to run. We did not find any weak ones but the drought in the desert is very serious and could easily affect wild animals.

Other wildlife sighted during the day.

  • 3 ostriches
  • 9  grevy’s zebras
  • 11 dikdiks
  • 8 grant gazelles
  • 13 gerenuks
  • 2 Oryx
  • Heard sounds of the fox (lkuchaa) at night.

We covered 47 km

day 3

We started the day  with some scouts walking while others followed tracks of 6 giraffes in the car. The vehicle team found the 6 giraffes but were scared of the vehicle and ran away, as we followed them we found another group of 10 who had 3 young ones. They were friendly and we got good pictures of them. The foot team found 3 giraffes two together and a juvenile on its own. This area had a bit of rain and the vegetation was good with trees flowering and the wildlife were feeding on the flowers.

Other wildlife seen in the day.

  • 11 Oryx
  • 3 ostriches
  • 16 grant gazelles
  • 20 gerenuks
  • 17 dikdik

We covered 51km

Day 4

We started our patrol back towards Ldonyo mara after searching the entire area that the Lkiramat said was the home of the giraffes. We decided to go back to the area where we spent the first night, and be more patient! Leleshep insists they like that area. We found fresh and old tracks of giraffe in many places.. bUT did not see them!

Other wildlife seen in the day

  • 4 Oryx
  • 7 grant gazelles
  • 8 dikdiks
  • 13 gerenuks

We covered 43km

Our Conclusion

Looking at the giraffes tracks and information from herders in the desert we believe there could easily be upwards of 40 individuals living in the desert. All the 23 individuals that we sighted are in good body condition.

We also got information that people do hunt giraffes for meat using motor bikes. 

We propose

Since these giraffes live in the desert where no one lives except during dry periods, people can easily hunt them for meat without notice or deterrence. ( and we talked to one man who admitted he ate the odd giraffe)  We therefore propose to create a team of 6 scouts who will live at the western edge of the desert, on the lower lugga Muran, so that they can patrol the desert throughout. The desert is vast and we intend to get these scouts from the communities living around … The team will be based on the west side of the desert, with a small team of camels so that they can patrol in silence.. They will also have a small Suzuki jeep to cover the vast area when needed.. also there will a motorbike that will help them keep up with the poacher antics.. As one of our scouts said..” the only thing that can keep up with motor bikes is motor bikes!!”

FINALLY..

Our new base on the north end of the Ndotos!! We have decided that its costing us too much every time we need to cross over ‘the other side’ of our area we work, that its time to have a base on the north east side of the mountains so we can store things, keep a vehicle..etc.. at least support our scouts from closer.. remember the Milgis covers around 6 thousand square kms!!

THIS BELOW WILL BE OUR VIEW!!!

Some where in this Valley we will have a sister base to Lkanto..
Beautiful Newtonia trees
the neighbours
And this will be our neighbour too!!! Narina’s trogon..

AND WITH THIS BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMASY BIRD TO END WITH, and I am off walking for 3 weeks, SO WE WISH EVERY ONE A FABULOUS END TO 2021 .. See you in 2022..

2 thoughts on “conversation on conservation!.. + ‘our’ desert giraffes..

  1. Hi Helen

    Coco sent me your Milgis Trust newsletter – I absolutely LOVED it. The gorgeous children learning respect and conservation under the trees – I think European children could benefit from that type of education too! Amazing work on dogs and the wildlife. How devastating those beautiful young babies not surviving. Helen, Lemagas, everyone – WELL DONE – keep it up. You are saints!

    I will try and sign up to the newsletter but having trouble working out how to!

    With all love
    Diana (Tamlyn)

    • Hi Diana, Its Helen here!! I sincerely hope this finds you!! It was wonderful to see your note here I’m sorry but I have no idea how to answer but trying again here!! I hope you are well and happy.. We are good except the much anticipated rains April/May are not good again… VERY SAD for all.. BUT still we live in hope that it will suddenly change!! to subscribe you go onto the blog and in the left hand corner below ‘the Milgis journal’ it says put your email address.. We ALL send you love… write to me at helendd@uuplus.net as at least I know how to answer it..

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