DROUGHT…. Wildlife fairing well … incredible!

We are all aware of the drought in East Africa.. In our area the rains have been very sporadic and patchy for well over two years now…. ‘its keeping us all on our toes’ and we just keep thinking positive thoughts for rain, and lots of it !!

In the mean time I have been really worrying about how the wildlife was coping in the desert, so we went to check it out!!

heading off into the desert to see for ourselves!

WOW and WOW again!.. were we pleasantly surprised to find somehow things looked really good!!

A perfect animal!! This magnificent male grevy’s … how on earth are they doing it.. these Zebras are walking around 60 to 80 kms every couple of days to water .. they are living off lignified grass.. I mean its incredible!
a nice story!.. Learamu is completely dedicated to the wildlife NOW!! he was not before!.. he is part of our team.. This man ‘Losera’ ( Milgis name) from Civicon, one of the corners of the desert where grevy’s have been travelling long distances to drink noticed that the solar pump that they rely on had broken down, and that 23 were just lying down around the place, soooo thirsty they weren’t going anywhere, so he made a desperate phone call and asked us for a drum of diesel to save their lives.. This was done, 300 kms in the back of a land cruiser!, and he is a proud man !.. very proud and happy to see them alive!..
‘Losera’ proudly pointing out the tracks of ‘his’ zebras that he saved..
look at this.. lignified grass.. This is what they are living off.. NOT very appetising!
these two and plenty more looking juuuuuuust beautiful!
these plains are where they walk to, to find food.. how do they look soooo absolutely magnificent!

One afternoon, on arrival at camp we heard gun shots ringing out into the desert.. Our team raced off into the direction to find a man, defiant that he was doing nothing wrong.. He first said a cheetah was bothering his livestock, but our team found no tracks.. only one of a grants gazelle.. In the end he had to admit, all he wanted was a little meat .. luckily he did not hit it and our guys had fun calming him down and explaining this is not allowed … this was quite difficult to start with and after a lot of talking they came to a good agreement that he won’t do it again.. He followed the guys to camp, we became friends, plenty of laughter, and he sold us a goat.. which he ate with us.. Important to our work is not to fight.. this is how we will win..

In this case we were in the right place on the right day.. This desert is big and you can’t be every where.. BUT we will win!..

We are determined the wildlife in this desert will survive for ever…

A few pictures to show you the magic out there!

white headed vulture.. unbelievable visitor just circled over and said good morning!
Swainson’s sparrows.. rather rare sighting
this wonderful mark in the sand of an agama lizard..

This desert is frequented by both the Rendille and the Samburu people, who have lived with the wildlife peacefully but with the modern world catching up we need to make sure it DOES NOT catch up here.. My fascination also is who made all these piles ALL over this area??

Climbing a kopje for the view… Note the piles of rocks like in the Chalbi desert..
each day we divided into 3 groups and covered apron 15 kms each way to make sure things are good.. We’ve lost our other group today!
View from our Kopje, but no sign of the others!


Where were they going? We thought we had agreed to meet on the hill on which we stand.. OR DID WE??!! Risky in the desert to get separated!
We see this very stressed mum gerenuk, only to find cheetah tracks.. Her young one had been taken..
cheetah tracks seen every day.. there are many
We saw 6 cheetahs in all ..
in perfect condition.. I was so happy to hear one of the men, when he looked through the binoculars saying.. ‘ohhhhhh my they are so beautiful.. they are perfect’ Its nice to hear, when really these animals are generally purged in the pastoralists vision!
amazing.. Tanganyika sand snake
life in the desert starts really early..
First the guys up the trees around camp to look and see if there’s any giraffe close!

the crux of our work in the desert (thanks to SGN) is to make sure the giraffes are safe, they increase and are NOT poached or hassled.. We all want these amazing survivors to flourish out here..

These desert guys really know how to climb trees..
every day setting off early to see what the desert brings.. it was so full of life .. our new ‘friend’ told us he saw giraffe tracks to the north..
any kind of ladder to see bit further!
bingo.. beautiful..
So we followed .. and found our bounty..
finally we caught up and considering we had the wind behind, the giraffe was very calm..
The other team were more fortunate..

the array of birds and wild animals just does not stop..

Fischer’s starling
grants gazelles in tip top condition.. Plenty here.
if any thing is suffering a bit, it is these oryx’s.. some are quite thin..
oryx and ostrich
African wolves greeting us on our first night with their fabulous howling.. plenty around..
This monitor looked rather bedraggled .. his ‘long sleep’ is going on and on.. he needs the rain.. our guys wondered if he was still alive but we saw him move his leg..
All over there were MANY MANY dead cows.. So many that the carrion eaters not able to keep up..

Mean while back home.. how are the animals doing!.. ????

We tried out a new road, over the north/west Ndotos…

Travelling back over the mountains on a new road.. A bit too dangerous, a lot of work and it will not be used much.. Low 4WD for most of the way..
Sunrise from Lkanto to greet us.. PERFECT!
The elephants are doing quite well.. considering.. plenty of young.. and we have another brand new pair of twins in the vicinity..

Sadly though I have to say we have lost around 20 elephants this year.. Some.. old age, wounded in human- wildlife conflict,( mainly from other areas and they come here to die) Also quite a few casualties lately of youngsters falling down very steep slopes, and a few sick.. BUT generally they are in good shape.. our 30 wells that we are digging for the wildlife up and down the luggas are saviours!

wildlife safe wells.. Everyone can at least drink ..
warthogs are probably suffering more than most.. Here they are not worried about livestock and people.. its the only way they will survive..
Many cows are just too weak to stand any more..
Incredible a flock of pelicans visited the Milgis!

finally it was the time of the year to remember my brother Simon by climbing a mountain.. and this is where we went this year!! Lemogor..

Lemogor.. Our amazing destination for this year..
Looking south towards the Milgis Lugga and Lenkiyou range.. Cassiopeia and friends i!
the team
north towards the main Ndoto range
east.. Baio for next year!.. it was this years plan but we heard it was NOT safe to go.. bandits..
You know me I must end with the stars and the moon.. our view in the morning from the top of lemorgor!

2 thoughts on “DROUGHT…. Wildlife fairing well … incredible!

  1. Dearest Helen, Pete and all your lovely team!
    How we love to live the desert life through your eagle eyes and brilliant photos, thanks for sharing these precious moments.
    Your incredible work is paying off, and a sacred part of the world is being nurtured even in these harsh times of drought.
    Sending you all a huge hug of thanks and as ever full of admiration for all that you have done and continue to do.
    Love from all the BB family
    Sophie xxxx

  2. Dear Helen Just getting in touch as we will be in Kenya at the coast over Xmas and New Year but sadly I wont be up country at all… however Astrid and Jamie are coming to stay after Xmas at Kilifi where we are renting the Filmers house… and they are going up country after that from around 2nd and returning to UK on the 7th.

    Will you be on safari then or where may you be… they may go and stay at Kitich -its a thought as there is availability there for 3 nights and wondered what you would be doing around then. You are probably busy on safari but just good to know.

    If you are ever able to come to the coast – or will be there, we would adore to see you and there may be space for you to stay even but I know that is the busy time for you.

    Would be lovely to catch up or for Astrid to anyway

    Hope you have had some rain… All love Anthea xxx ________________________________

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