Tag Archives: oribi

Waiting…..waiting for Rain…..

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Nairobi National Park is a haven for antelopes, such as these oribi, translocated in from agricultural land in western Kenya. I saw 3 today:these shy creatures can more easily be seen now that there is so little vegetation in the park…

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The resident herbivores are finding it difficult in the dry, hot conditions prevailing; but not Grantis (you can see why they is called “oloibor siadi” -the ‘white behind’ in the Maasai language!) , which are very well adapted to living on the hot dessicated savannah.They can exist perfectly well without water.

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The beestes are back! Almost miraculously some 1,000 of these (in our ecosystem) increasingly rare grazers have found their way back into the park. Precise numbers will be communicated in the next post as a count took place last sunday, but no details available from KWS, yet.

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The gnu look good considering illegal cattle grazing has turned the entire park into short-grass plains habitat,with very little ‘short grass’. The black mob on the horizon are the herd seen in the pic above….talk about a blasted heath!

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Kongoni -in decline nearly everywhere from grazing competition with cattle -are now having to contend with cattle competition in their”protected” haven in the Park.

As always in a drought, the old & the weak are in poor condition; let’s hope they get through this period (there are many young at heel) as this population of Coke’s hartebeest, which is critical in terms of the Athi Kapiti ecosystem.

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The water holes are drying up…..

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Another rare denizen of the park: a bush duiker -no doubt only visible because of the paucity of vegetation…..

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Thirsty gnu….

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Even giraffe -supremely adapted to life on the African plain- are getting hungry & wandering far & wide in search of browse -including to my garden in the Silole Sanctuary. In the Langata Forest some of their favourite food shrubs - Rus natalensis -has died owing to drought. We can only hope that the rain arrives on schedule mid-October……..

Antelopes of Nairobi National Park

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Today’s offering (after hours downloading images…..) is about the many species of antelope to be found within the various habitats of the park. These range from species represented by hundreds of individuals, to those such as these Mountain Reedbuck, of which there can only be about 20, all found in one locality in the park:in the Sosian valley.

How does a group such as this manage to survive, genetically?

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Here’s a Mountain Reedbuck doe. Difficult to photograph, these small species of buck…Notice the gland below the ear. Antelope live in a secret world of scent difficult for us to comprehend & have glands near their eyes, & between their hooves & leave subtle messages in their lavatories telling others of their kind who what why & where they are….

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The once dominant species of the Athi Kapiti Ecosystem, now represented by just a few hundred animals when in years past there were thousands! At least we’ve got at least 20 more this year.Wildebeest have calved in the safety of the park owing to the on-going drought.

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The King of Antelopes, a bull eland. Mostly confined to the park these days owing to habitat loss in the dispersal area, this species is doing very well.

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A Coke’s hartebeest or kongoni, in typical stance. This species is doing so well in the park that it must be getting close to it’s maximum sustainable population. This is excellent news as elsewhere this species is in decline.

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A Bohor (where does this name originate?) reedbuck ram. Although there must have been Bohor reedbuck in the wetlands at the Eastern edge of the park historically, many have been translocated in from Western Kenya. These animals are very difficult to see & (like most small antelope) hide motionless in the vegetation as a defensive measure.

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A Mountain Reedbuck ram testing a female in oestrous.

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The best shot I have been able to get of the elusive steenbok, which live in pairs. Having no horns I assume this is a juvenile.

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The elegant bushbuck is one of the most widespread antelopes in Africa, able to live close to humans (like in my garden) if not hunted. Solitary animals, they are numerous in all the habitats of the park apart from on the plains.

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Impala are also a very adaptable & successful species, though they are water dependent.

Well over 600 in & around the park show that this species is flourishing in the park.

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A doe oribi with young. This species has been translocated into the park.Hopefully it will not compete with the duiker sp. which occur in the park (grey & bush?)

I could not get pictures of suni (which occur in the Langata forest) or dikdik, (which I have never seen in the park but which can be found along the Embakasi Gorge & in the Silole Sanctuary.) Does anybody have images of these three species? Or klipspringer?

Below is a waterbuck, which occurs both in the Langata Forest & in the Athi Basin.

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Gnu Calving in NNP

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Wildebeest were once the commonest large herbivore in the Athi Kapiti ecosystem,but they have virtually disappeared from the park, the majority of the remaining herds cut off from it by the Athi-Namanga highway. A few hundred at most remain & they tend to live just outside the park on the Sheep & Goat Land,which is classic short-grass plain habitat, which they prefer, especially for calving.

This morning I found several brand new calves with  small herds of cows moving towards the east of the park. Well done this old mother!!

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Two calves, just born -not twins-another mother is just out of shot…

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The park is looking FANTASTIC despite the cattle invasion of the southern boundary.

Here is a female oribi (probably translocated into the park) with young .

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Kongoni -on the decrease throughout their range in Africa- are on the INCREASE in NNP.

They’re breeding well!

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Does this chap think it’s going to rain? Kori bustards have come into the park after last years controlled burns: things (like koris & gnu) love the short grass plain.

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The wildebeest are on the move deeper into the park from the Athi basin, where they usually like to be.

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Here’s the future;wildebeest calves born into a migratory lifestyle. Sadly these calves will grow up to be confined within the park & it’s fast diminishing dispersal area.

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What is really significant about these pictures is they show calves born in the park.Usually calving takes place outside the park. A combination of factors: a contracting range, a dry weather cycle & major competition from livestock leading to a complete denudation of grazing outside the park means that the future of our remaining population of gnu remains firmly inside. If they can breed like this their future is assured.Good Luck!!

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