March – April 2009 Newsletter

The prolonged dry season turned into a drought therefore increasing competition between livestock and wildlife for water and pasture both, in and outside the park. A striking influx of livestock into the park was witnessed until Easter when the Park Management finally took action to drive them out. It is noteable that livestock was not just from the communities adjacent to Nairobi National Park but migrating herds from all over Kajiado District.

Predation  outside the park has been reported. A clear assessment will be drawn through claim forms and other reports.

A special case is Kipeto where a pride of 3 lions is resident and kills cattle when eland and zebra are disturbed – driven away – mainly by poaching incidents. Wild dogs (4) are also reported to have re-appeared. They killed small stock.

Various comments from the general public and our members give upbeat feedback on wildlife populations in the park. Many say that the park has bounced back to a glorious status. The result of the Game count conducted on April 5th – results below -, underlines that view. But it should not be forgotten that the drought drove most of the larger game animals in search for food and water from the plains into the park!

The drought in the greater ecosystem is said to be extensive and severe. In Kitengela area pastoralist families have had to rely on food aid while large numbers of livestock are reported to have migrated as far as Tanzania and Tsavo areas. Wildlife and livestock deaths have compounded the situation further.

Rivers have dried up except for occasional water pools along riverbeds shaded by riverine forests. An increasing number of boreholes have also shut down in the Kaputiei Plains and elsewhere.

In Magadi area zebras are reported to have died due to lack of food and water.

Ostriches seem to be thriving under these conditions throughout the ecosystem, particularly the free ranging  populations. This has been especially witnessed in Elangata Wuas and Magadi.

Wild dogs are also doing well. In the past weeks a pack with 7 puppies was reported almost daily from Karero mountains, much to the delight of our Community Scout Anthony Mututua who witnessed the puppies to grow. Few livestock casulties were reported, an indication that the dogs preyed on wildlife. They may have also taken week animals but do not feed on carcasses. .

Karen Country Club held a stakeholders meeting on 8th of April seeking views on diverting flood waters off Mbagathi River for storage, to water their golf course. Currently they buy tankers full of fresh water for this purpose! Several stakeholders, among them members of the club, found the idea of diverting the flood waters to water the golf course unethical. The meeting was inconclusive and the idea not supported. KWS was represented by the Senior Warden Nairobi Park. Inge Burchard represented FoNNaP and warned that the bigger strategic threat would be on endangered species rather than golf courses, to emphasize the point against diverting flood waters.
From investigations it is known that there is excessive, illegal water abstraction and borehole use upstream. It is therefore unthinkable to divert whatever volume of water from Mbagathi River.

The Kaputiei Open Plains Project (KOPP) .  The USAID grant to finance the above project is under implementation through the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). It has been ongoing since November 2008. ILRI is a major partner undertaking mapping of fences and boreholes in the three triangles. FoNNaP is represented in the Project Implementation Committee.
The World Bank has donated US$ 660,000 towards expansion of the Lease Programme implemented by The Wildlife Foundation.

Jamii Bora  continues to create anxiety among local Maasai pastoralists and conservation groups. AWF has pledged to contribute to the process of litigation. Olkejuado County Council stands by its previous resolution against the project.

Land Use Masterplan Process has slowed down but the Ministry of Planning is due to hold a stakeholders meeting on the process in May 2009.

The KWS Director held a consultative Breakfast Meeting with conservation NGOs at the Rangers Restaurant on 16th April. The purpose of the meeting was to brief stakeholders on the next strategic plan and get input into its review.

FoNNaP Audit. A draft audit report for the 2006-2007 financial year  has been received and is under review.

African Heritage Day – Night took place on Sunday, March 29th, at the InterContinental Hotel. The event was a great success in public outreach. Alan Donovan takes credit for a marvellous show of African Heritage outfits. It was great! The show was a precursor for a similar event in the US to honour the election of Barrack Obama.

The Call of the Lions invited to the African Heritage Day – but funds to be raised for consolation remained well below expectation.


Gareth Jones writes: I guess every time we venture into the park , we need to be prepared for the unexpected …. such was
was Sunday 19th April…we went in at around 15h00 with guests from the UK who now live in Kampala …..we saw good sighting of many herds …..however our guests had never seen a wild lion before….so I was under some pressure”to hopefully find some…..finally it was after 18h00 before we found them near No3…..however they were about 40m off the tar road in thick bush….and still sleeping….but this somehow caused many off the cars that were parked there to get excited and try and get a better view…..first there was the tour operator , his solution was to just drive to the lions  on his return to the tar road I drove forward a intercepted him, and effectively told him that if reported he could be in danger of losing his job, he admitted guilt and begged me not to take it further, and drove away…..then as those parked could not see enough….they began to all climb out of there vehicles and onto the roofs f vehicles…..excitedly pointing and shouting like it was some kind of “sports event” , then the final straw came when I saw children running in the road between vehicles….it was now getting dark…….so I said to all  present in a loud voice, “good evening, please understand that there are many lions in this pride ,we can only see a few now, but there could be others next to you that you can’t see, there is very real danger for your children and yourselves should  lions suddenly walk into the road, please get back into your vehicles “…..within a very short time all the people climbed back into their vehicles…some even thanked me as they drove past….they were mostly from Canada, Italy,  UK and Kenya.

The question is ….”what is the official KWS policy and action for such events ?” and how should we act.
Author: Gareth Jones.

Game Count April 5th,  2009

Buffalo             372
Bushbuck         7
Dik Dik             10
Common Duiker     1
Elands              281
Grant gazelle         246
Thomson’s gazelle,     417
Maasai Giraffe,         123
Coke’s Hartebeest     675
Steinbock         2
Waterbuck,         20
Wildebeest         989
Warthog             62
Impala             502
Black Rhino         6
Burchell’s Zebra       3071
Baboon             71
Vervet Monkey     37
Rock Hyrax         2
Spotted Hyena     6
Silver Backed Jackal 2
Lion                 2
Serval cat         1
Ostrich             94
Secretary Bird         2
Yellow Nckd. Spurfowl     2
Helmeted Guinea fowl       16
Black Bellied Bustard        6

Next Game count on June 7th, 2009

Good news: The Senior Warden is ready to permit FoNNaP again the use of the Guest House for Gatherings!

Because of the long weekend with May 1 on a Friday, the Board decided to skip the May 3 Gathering. Many people will be away.

The AGM is scheduled for June. Proper notice will follow.

Please, don‘t forget to renew your Membership! Only paid-up members can  vote.


One response to “March – April 2009 Newsletter

  1. Excellent www site and great news re the wild dog pack. I gather that Elangata Wuas is a very good place to visit to see them for many years and that there have been packs in that area since at least the early 1990’s . Please could you let me have any information/detail you have on the packs that were studied in your area from the early 1990s onwards. Many thanks

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