Category Archives: Uncategorized

KWS Can Do Better…..

So Kipng’etich complains of adverse criticism of KWS now he has left? We all want KWS to live up to it’s vision of running ‘world class parks’ but it seems a long way off if my experience today in Nbi Nat Park is what visitors & Kenyans  can expect: at Masai Gate, ticket machine wouldn’t work, so entered without a ticket (have season pass). The Park full of rubbish, both wind-blown & strewn by visitors. Plenty of wildlife, but all massing to head out of the Park, owing to the advent of Rains, heading for ‘Dispersal Area’,which sadly doesn’t exist anymore. The Cheetah Gate area has been fenced off at that end, hiving off a substantial area of Park (I thought degazettement had to go through Parliament?) Then I popped into Mbuni Campsite, a project which has been going on for over 2 years. This beautiful spot is a deserted building site. Water tank (holed) on it’s side. Brand new loos & showers waterless (never used) & locked. Who would camp here?
Yesterday Friends of the Park went to Main Gate to the monthly FONNAP meeting.
KWS were not present.
To cap it all, the new Chief Director of KWS has no background in wildlife or Tourism.
Come on KWS, you can do much better than this!!

Mudbath!

DSCF0593

In the current stormy weather: it is raining , but not enough, for example the Athi Dam is still low…..the park’s biffaloes are enjoying.

DSCF0597

“mud mud glorious mud’

DSCF0604

‘there’s nothing quite like it for cooling the blood’

DSCF0612

DSCF0624

DSCF0634

Lions Kill Buffalo

Story & pictures by DAVE MCKELVIE:
_T6N4201
Came across 3 lions who were in the process of killing a buffalo
A very large buffalo
2 large males and a female, just next to 4b, they will still be there as they have a lot to eat
Female and a male at back end feasting
Large male had a hold on snout and paws round horns suffocating the buff
Large male buff was still alive, kicking a bit and trying to move his head, but was already weak and on his last breath
_T6N4203
_T6N4209
_T6N4214

Hippos & Lions

Photo Essay by Gareth Jones:

Friday 18th June 2010 was an interesting day:t 3 lions had been eating on a buffalo carcass for the last 3 days at the waters edge of the Eland Valley dam…….then in the late afternoon a phone call from Dave Mc Kelvie to say that he was at the dam watching the lions …I then left the office and headed towards the East gate ….when I arrived at the dam the lions were sitting quietly on top of a mound , and the hippos were deep in the water , with the buffalo carcass visible on the opposite bank of the dam.

Lions with buffalo.eland dam (1)

I sat and watched them for some time ….eventually the hippos began to move towards the buffalo carcass , and came out of the water and over the carcass , from a distance it was difficult to see exactly what they were doing ,but they appeared to be licking/muzzling the carcass on quite a few occasions .

hippo@buffalo carcass-elandam-18jun10

I then moved closer to the buffalo carcass by taking the back track past the dam wall , as I stopped the hippo retreated into the water ….. so I sat quietly and waited ….after some time the lions began to move towards the buffalo carcass ( a lioness with 2 sub-adult cubs )  They each ate briefly on the carcass , and I could see they were all very full from the feasting .

lion retreat for hippos-eland dam-18jun10

Then the hippo’s began to advance while the lions were at the buffalo carcass ,  they boldly came out of the water , and the lions immediately timidly retreated . The hippos then repeated the cycle of licking & muzzling the buffalo carcass ,

It was again difficult to see from where I was parked , because the carcass was on the water’s edge and partly hidden by the bank and long grass plus it was getting dark , but the hippo’s spent some time over the buffalo , and through my binoculars there were time when I observed the hippo’s tongues left sticking out .

lioness&youngone@buf hippo-eland dam-18jun10

A truly fascinating event to witness …however this did get me thinking …..firstly how did the buffalo (it appeared to be a cow) die on the edge of the dam ? Was it alone at the time ? Was it weakened so that a single lioness with 2 half grown cubs could kill it ? Or did it die of another cause at the water’s edge ? It’s hard to tell .Then also the actions of the hippos was really amazing …were they trying the get nutrients like body salts etc from the buffalo carcass ? Hippos are not known to eat meat .

What is also particularly amazing is the location of this natural event in the Nairobi National Park …….the Eland Valley Dam is less that 1km from the park boundary , and approx 1.5km from the East Gate ….as I sat there the skyline in the distance clearly showed some buildings such as the Panari Hotel …and I could hear the muffled drone of heavy traffic that almost sounded like the noise of a distant waterfall …..it is exciting to think that a few weeks ago ,at the same nearby boundary on the 5th June –World Environment day – over 5000 people participated in the Nairobi Greenline Project to plant trees and form a human chain within a new double electric fence 50m wide zone , the length covered was 7km , but actions are well advanced to complete a 32km Greenline to Athi River .

Lastly….We were saddened by the news on Tuesday 22nd June that 2 young lions had been killed just outside the park past Embakazi towards Athi River , (possibly about 5km from the East Gate ) . Due to the recent heavy rains many of the herbivores – zebra , wildebeest etc…have moved out of the park ,so the lions either follow them or find easier options like livestock . We do not have detailed evidence at this stage of the circumstances around the dead lions .I have not seen the Lioness and her two sub-adult cubs since the 18th June , were they the ones killed ?

With every day that passes the challenge of Wildlife vs Mankind is increased ….and it is especially evident here in Nairobi with the Nairobi National Park and the rapidly growing Nairobi Mega City with a greater population of over 4 million . The management of the park by KWS and positive actions like the Nairobi Greenline Project all help to protect the park . However this is still not enough ….more dramatic actions are needed to ensure the long term survival of this national treasure .

Nairobi Park Greenline

On 5th June, 5000 people came out to the Northern boundary of the Park to show their concern for Nairobi National Park & to plant trees.

greenline chain 5

They all held hands in a 5000-strong human chain to demonstrate support for the Park & the inviobility of it’s borders: the Northern boundary of the Park marches next to Nairobi’s Industrial area…..

greenline chain 10

A 50 metre wide prtection belt will eventually stretch all the way from ‘Carnivore Corner’ in the NW corner of the Park down along the Nairobi Athi River Highway -some 30 km of fencing. This corridor will be planted with indigenous trees, especially Acacia sp………..

greenline chain 14

The Greenline Day was a great success, with a huge turn-out & a large amount of money raised for the ongoing tree-planting effort.

Greenline -planting trees

Some of the folks who turned out to support the Park & fundraising….

VIP Breakfast

Some of the VIPs at the Fundraiser’s breakfast: Greenline is a joint KWS/KAM (Kenya Association of Manufacturers) project.

See www.nairobigreenline.comfor further details……….

Rhinos in Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is unique from several different perspectives & not least that it is one of Kenya’s most successful rhino sanctuaries where rhinos breed well (see previous post.) Last year 10 Southern White rhinos (Grass rhinos) were translocated into the park & one has given birth….the first of this species to have beenborn in NNP.

P1050952

Here are 3 of the Whites doing what they do best -grazing- in their new home.

Kingdon, the well known authority on African wildlife calls White rhinos “Grass” rhinos & blacks “Browse”  rhinos owing to their different eating habits…..

P1060092

A Black rhino in typical Whistling thorn habitat in NNP.

P1060252

A Black rhino browsing….

P1060606

Whites are considerably larger than Blacks & much more docile. On both counts much easier to observe in the field than the latter, who tend to lurk in thick bush, especially in the daytime…..

P1060891

I hope my readers will recognise this little chap?

P1060895

With his mother & neighbour……

P1060898

A close up of a large pachyderm more redolent of the prehistoric than the concrete world of 2010…….

Rhinoes Increasing in Nairobi National Park

NNP 25 1 10 008 (1)

Photo by Dave McKelvie

Wet Season in NNP

P1060593

After a two year drought, Nairobi National Park finally received some decent rain in December & early January & the effects have been dramatic. Every last blade of grass had been grazed to dust by the 6000 or so resident herbivores & a similar number of illegal cattle, all of which (in the case of the latter) have now died or moved away to grazing lands in Maasailand. Seasonal wetlands provide excellent habitat for aquatic sp. of birds such as this Saddlebill stork…..

P1060637

All predators, including the Big Cats have done well during the drought, with virtually all wildlife in the Athi-Kapiti ecosystem north of the Namanga highway  being contained in the park owing to the presence of water & grazing…..

P1060647

Bohor reedbuck such as this male are doing well (many of them are translocatees from Western Kenya) & easily visible in the the new short grass……

P1060710

Buffaloes surprisingly survived the drought well: there are close to a thousand of these large bovines in the park today……

P1060722

Kongoni (Coke’s hartebeest) are now confined to the park because of human activities in the dispersal area.They are increasing in numbers & provide food for the ever-hungry & ever increasing NNP lion population (which is estimated at between 35 & 40 individuals…..)

P1060727

Migrant White or European storks, feasting on the exploding insect population (a consequence of the Rains…)

P1060736

A dainty bushbuck pictured in a seasonally flooded vlei in the Langata Forest….

P1060771

Dikdik in the Silole Sanctuary abutting the park: I have never seen this sp. in the park itself. Could somebody suggest WHY this might be the strange case?

P1060776

Mother & calf Southern White rhino continue to do well: we have 11 in the NNP.

Cheetah!

p1060378.JPG

I thought you might like to have a look at this picture (taken this morning) of The Last Cheetah in NNP…. a skilful hunter, he appears to have brought down an adult kongoni….Let’s hope that a female might, just might wander into the park from the fast -disappearing wildlifep1060378.JPG ’dispersal area’.

The Last Cheetah and other unusual sightings…

p1060249.JPG

As far as I can judge, this is our last cheetah in NNP. I have seen him on & off for several years now:alone.

Even if she is a female, she has not had cubs all this time,presumably because of the lack of a mate.

All is not lost, though -NNP is now prime cheetah habitat-short grass plain-with plenty of gazelles & other mediun sized mammals available as prey. The story of the gnus -see below -must give us hope!

p1060242.JPG

I hope you like this shot of yellow-billed oxpeckers (tickbirds) at home…….

p1060231.JPG

NNP is full of wind-blown litter from the city.This graphically illustrates the risk to grazers……

p1060225.JPG

Warthog are doing just fine & their numbers going up & up….

p1060222.JPG

Competition with the cattle still in the park (though less than in previous months;many have died) is leading to stress. This poor old zebra mare, like many other old & diseased individuals will not survive.

p1060196.JPG

NNP is astonishing in the diversity of it’s mammals, such as these Mountain reedbuck. Can a geneticist amongst our readers explain how our population of  just 20 or so of this sp. has survived quite happily since the ’60′s without outside blood/genes?

p1060193.JPG

The wildebeest are back. We have a population of approximately 900 now resident in the park:an excellent core population for the 120 square kilometres where thay are likely to have to live in the future….

p1060191.JPG

A translocated oribi. Many sp. of mammals to be found in the NNP have been brought in from areas where they or their habitat are threatened….

p1060176.JPG

You never know what you might see in the splendid Nairobi National Park: a wild leopard tortoise……