Officer Bosco passes on

Yesterday, we received devastating news that our tracker dog Bosco has died. He has been at the vet for 6 weeks, having had complications from a thorn that imbedded in his chest from an anti poaching exercise in Tsavo in January this year. We have had been up to date on his progress and  jubilant that he was fit and ready to start work again but the vet passed the sad news that  he had died at night as a result of a twisted gut.

Bosco After operation

Officer Bosco, as he was known by the scouts, was already a legend in the Amboseli area before he died. Officer Bosco was responsible for more than 40 poachers arrested; these ranges from farmlands of Mbirikani; to the hot lowland of Rukinga and the armed poachers of Tsavo.

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We are all devastated here, especially his handlers who worked with him for the last 4 years 7 days a week.

A big thank you goes to; Ol Jogi, Tusk Trust and Save the Rhino for making our tracker dog program happen, also for keeping Bosco in active service for his short, happy and very productive life.

Officer on a training

Contraband ivory set a blaze by the president

On Wednesday, conservationist across Kenya watched as the president of the nation sets ablaze contraband ivory sizes in Singapore in 2002. The 5 tonne ivory was burned in full glare of the media to send a signal to the poachers and ivory trades that their days are numbered.

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Photo:Daily Nation

The ivory which originated from Zambia and Malawi were brought back to Kenya through the Lusaka Agreement Task Force which helped facilitate the return of the ivory from Singapore.

Present in the exercise are Kenya Wildlife minister, Kenya Wildlife Service director and representative of the Lusaka Agreement Task force president.

For more of this story read it from one of Kenya’s dailies.

Enkijape school goes hi-tech

For the last two days, I have been with teachers and pupils of Enkijape primary school inspecting their progress on an IT project known as the eagle project that’s going to change the face of Enkijape for good. Last month a group of Americans led by Alice Laimbeer donated three Ipads and a mac laptop computer to the school to aid the school in teaching. This is a big milestone in connecting Enkijape with their counter part at the higland school and discuss various topics of interest. Here is the school facebook account for more deatails about the eagle project.

Using the Ipad at Enjijape

Once again, a big thank you to Nicholas and Kathryn Kulick for their generous donation.

Help needed urgently

Today has been a busy day for me; as I had to coordinate the game scouts change over. This means that they rotate to four different stationed camps across Mbirikani Group Ranch each hosting eight rangers. I had to issue out rations and water for each team and other field equipment.

My HP computer

However, as I was preparing the game scouts duty rooster for the month of July; my computer suddenly shutdown. This is not the first time, but its been behaving this way for more than a month now. I have always been expecting this to happen. This computer, a HP brand was a donation  a year ago. It’s the same computer that host Maasailand Preservation Trust database and other organization records. In this regard, we are therefore looking for donations to purchase one laptop or if anyone has a computer that can be used for this worthy course please contact me through this blog for further information.

my hp on an external fan

On different note, a few days a go this blog highlighted a story of a rescued cheetah cub. I am sad to report that we have lost the cub two days after rescuing. Mean while our hope of finding the two  cubs continue to dwindle.

Thanks everyone for your comments and support.

Cheetah Cub Rescued

Look at this cute little one!

Rescued cheetah cub

This cub was found at the entrance of a boma yesterday morning. According to the warrior who rescued the cub; the cub had seen with the mother for five consecutive days with three two more cubs. Then on the third day, he saw two cubs by themselves.

He started monitoring the cubs until yesterday when he saw an emaciated cheetah cub outside his boma (kraal) entrance. The cub has since been rescued and taken to Richard Bonham house(MPT director). As per the witness, he  say my be the mother was killed by a male  grant gazelle she was trying to hunt.

We are looking for the other two cubs if they are still alive. Thanks everyone for your support donations.

Carnivore Conservation Workshop

For the last three days, a team of Maasailand Preservation Trust has been attending a carnivore’s workshop in Amboseli. The workshop brought together all key stakeholder and partners to discuss current initiatives focusing on carnivore conservation in the region in Serana Amboseli.

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Among the presenters is MPT team led by Richard Bonham (MPT Chairman) presenting the challenges and successes of Predator Compensation Fund. Throughout the talks, it became apparent that lions in particular are declining not only in Kenya but across Africa as presented by the Tarangire Lion Project. But the good news is the conference participants are all coming up with the way forward to saving the king of the jungle. Among the solutions that were presented are; Expanding the compensation program to other areas including West Kilimanjaro following the success of the pilot program that was initiated in Mbirikani by Maasailand Preservation Trust in 2003.

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Construction of Predator Proof bomas in areas that have high rate of conflict; this information will be derived from PCF data on killed livestock both from Kuku, Mbirikani and Olgulului. Improving of current initiatives to minimize human carnivore conflict through education and better livestock husbandry, through Eramatare project, Lion Guardians.

It was concluded that, all the participants will share information from different projects to better understand what’s happening in other areas of the ecosystem where some of the initiatives are not running.

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Thank you everyone for readingour stories from the field.  Even though we have another blog, this one will still be in use. For those who will love to donate to MPT please do it here.

America versus Kenya

About seven years ago, Alice Laimbeer from Highland School, Virginia and Rick her husband, came to Kenya as tourists on a visit to Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge. During their stay, they had a chance to visit Enkijape Primary School at Mbirikani village in Kajiado District. From this first visit, Alice and her friends were impressed by the hospitality of the school children and their teachers. Despite the meager resources at the school, the enthusiasm to teach and learn is remarkable. A strong friendship was established, and Highland school – through Maasailand Preservation Trust (MPT) – formed a partnership, that seeks to provide support to the school to improve the quality of education.

Using an Ipad

The support from Highlands School – thanks to the dedicated generosity and sacrifice from Alice and her team – has grown over the years. Among other things, it includes providing teaching and learning materials, funding salaries for 3 teachers, boarding fees for 9 students, building and repairing facilities and providing playground/sports equipment and high school sponsorship for top final exam (KCPE) boy and girl every year.

Teaching at Enkijape

For three days (15-17th June), MPT and Enkijape hosted Alice and other visitors from Highland School in Virginia. The visiting group is made up of seventeen people in total. During the visit, various exciting activities were carried out at the school including planting trees within the school compound, building desks for teachers, painting murals and teaching.

Among the guests were Kathryn Kulick and her son Nicholas who came to launch the Eagle Project. The project includes installation of a solar system provision of computers and internet at Enkijape Primary School. Kathryn and Nicholas brought with them a top-of-the range Mac lap top and three Ipads. The Eagle Project was launched successfully with students and teachers being taught how to use the technology for communication, learning and teaching.

There was excitement among pupils and teachers as we trained them how to use the Ipads to read books and work out sums. This will put the school on top of technology as they will be able to chat with friends from Highland school at a click of a button.

Gearing for the match

The climax of the three days visit was a vote of thanks from the school; the guests were given Maasai beaded gifts in appreciation for their support. Finally, a football match was organized at the school dubbed Kenya Versus America. America lost 0-1.

We take this opportunity to thank Alice, the Highland School team, Kathryn and Nicholas as well as other guests visiting with them for their generous donations and support to the school. We are grateful for helping us build such a great partnership and invite our bloggers to emulate them and to give us whatever support they can.

Here comes the Queen of Maasailand

For a long time, Maasai’s have been known to be anti-education. Even to date, a majority of the population believe that education is a waste money, time and energy. This is even worst when it comes to a girl child education. This is because a girl in the Maasai community is viewed as an asset, worthy a lot of cows the moment they hit age 14.

Jedidah speaking on her graduation ceremony, left her mother Joyce

Jedidah speaking on her graduation ceremony, left her mother Joyce

This culture is slowly aging out. In a recent ceremony held in Mbirikani village where I hail from, it was all smiles as one girl; Jedidah Simantoi graduated with Bachelor’s of Education (science ) degree, second class honors –upper division from the University of Nairobi. I have to stress this because this it is a big achievement for a girl coming from such a hardship area, most importantly defying the culture of early marriage and getting “married to books”. You can imagine the number of cows a husband to be, will have pay for this queen of Maasailand. I can only envy him. All the same it’s a big congratulation to her family for defying all odds and make sure she achieves this important goal in her life. Mbirikani is yearning for a professor, and we have faith in you, Jedidah, that you gonna deliver this.

Happy after hard work

This with no doubt will not have been possible without the help of Maasailand Preservation Trust education program, and in particular Ann Lurie. In the ceremony well attended from far and wide, she asked other girls to follow her steps and take advantage of scholarship opportunities and pursue a career of their choice. A big congratulation from me specifically; for making our village proud and from the Maasailand Preservation Trust team. Well done our “queen”!

You can support other girls to follow by donating to the Maasailand Preservation Trust scholarship program.

Ooooh! not again

Well, first and foremost I would like to apologize for the long silence from the Maasailand Preservation Trust blog. There has been so much happening lately, from 2010-2011. First of all there was a rhino poacher arrested in of the most guarded rhino habitat.

Snares that were to be used to poach rhinos in chyuluNP

This guy must have guts, because how he got there is still a mystery.  He led a team of Kenya Wildlife service personnel to his home and assortments of poaching tools were discovered, poisoned arrows, snares and quivers. He is also leading the same team towards the arrest of one animal trophy dealer in the area.

Rhino poacher

Secondly, four ivory poachers were cornered into a trap by one of our intelligent scout; Sergeant Sakimba. Apparently, the ivory traders contacted the sergeant while he was on off duty to get them any ivory he could lay his hands on at a good price (Kshs. 3000 approximately 40 USD).  This of course took a while to organize for transportation of ivory within Kenya Wildlife Service custody and prepare them  an ambush.  This was so successful that the four buyers were arrested on the eve of New Year. They had a cool Kshs. 150, 000, (2000USD) supposedly to purchase ivory.  The sad thing is these guys, were released on fine of Kshs. 5000(66 USD) just like that.

Ivory ready for sale at the back of saloon car

This is just one of the many cases where poachers are set free by the Kenyan courts alluding to lack of evidence whilst there is much available.

saloon car plate number

On very, very sad note, we happened to have lost two lions across the border (Tanzania) from poisoning. The first l incident which is lioness was poisoned on 2nd of January 2011 after killing a cow inside a boma at Kitenden area on the Tanzanian side. This was reported on the 5th of January by scouts working for AWF in Tanzania.  On 19th of January; another report came in that four lions were poisoned still on the Tanzania soil. After comprehensive investigation we found out that it was one male lion. The team comprises of Kenya Wildlife Service rangers. From the carcass, it was evident that, the culprit were not just after retaliation for their stock but also after the lion claws and teeth. These parts were missing. This could be another trade for lion parts coming up.

Poisoned lion Jan 2011

Evidence of some missing parts, skin, teeth and claws.

In the last case of the lion poisoning there was clear evidence (and actually you can see furadan granules in the picture below) of poisoning targeting other species.

Dead lion

Furadan granules on this lion carcass

Your donations are highly needed to save these magnificent animals from extinction.

Blood hound out after thieves

This morning we received a report that, a scout camp in Tsavo  has been raided and solar panels went missing. Immediately the report was passed on to the dog unit under sergent Mutinda who right away  dispatched Bosco the blood hound to the scene. Bosco, and one of the scout from the dog unit went down to the airstrip to be airlifted to  track down the culprit in Tsavo East National Park, with the help of our two seater super cab and a pilot donated by Tusk Trust.

Blood hound out to work

We haven’t received news on the progress as yet but will inform you once they are at Oldoinyo wuas later today. Meanwhile here are some of the photos of the blood hound during previous operations

a job well done

Bosco on his home in a previous assignment