N E W S L E T T E R F O R 1 9 9 6
Time again to wish all our Friends and Supporters a very happy New Year and once more we hardly know where the year has gone!
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the first National Park in Kenya which was Nairobi. It also sadly saw the death of the Director who founded Kenya's National Parks, Col. Mervyn Cowie. His target of excellence set the goals towards which his competent field staff strived turning the embryonic Parks into what were acknowledged as the finest in the world within just 30 years.
Dr. Leakey will always be remembered as the Director that retrieved the National Parks from the brink of ruin due to two decades of rampant poaching and corruption, but he foundered due to politics and accusations of favoring animals above humans, something that cannot be leveled at his successor, Dr. David Western.
This 50th Anniversary saw the completion of a mega Headquarter complex, legacy of World Bank input in the Leakey era, portraying an illusion of opulence that belies the current financial state of the Kenya Wildlife Service. It can house a crippling bureaucracy of over 1,000; has landscaped gardens, fountains, and even a Restaurant, and yet the wild animals in the nearby Orphanage/Zoo often go short of water. Furthermore, such sophistication has contributed little towards greater efficiency.
For those that remember the Kenya National Parks of old, safeguarded as they were by laws that were respected, developed from scratch with just a modest subvention from Government to boost the revenue they generated themselves and managed by a Headquarter staff of just a dozen souls, any talk of "celebrations" had a hollow sound. Tourist figures were down in the face of stiff competition further South.. A distinct bias towards "the community", often compromising the interests of wildlife, seemed a contradiction as did the endless "Workshops' that kept key personnel from the field and decision making "Forums" that have replaced the practical field emphasis of yore.
Furthermore, the new motto 'Parks beyond Parks' hallmarking this 50th Anniversary, also seemed a contradiction, interpreted by many as ending up with "No Parks at All". Those with long experience believe it unrealistic to envisage peaceful coexistence between wildlife and a burgeoning human population. After all, even the elite landowners still have a track record of intolerance towards any wild animal that threatens their domestic type', so why should a peasant farmer with much more at stake, be any different? Beyond the Park boundaries, where wild animals still exist alongside human habitation, first to go are the predators and then the elephants, who can consume a man's livelihood for a year in one night, along with other "problems" such as buffalo and hippo whilst the new concept of "sustainable consumptive utilisation" systematically and insidiously erodes the rest in the form of cheap bush meat there for the taking, always a more attractive proposition to a tribesman than parting with his personal property.
Many also question the assertion that 75% of wildlife exists beyond the boundaries of the established National Parks, or that the presence of domestic animals contributes positively towards "biodiversity", another key phrase that has become a password. This is hard to swallow, even from a Scientist, when one takes a look at the overgrazed pastures beyond the Park boundaries where tufts of grass sprout from eroded pedestals and deep erosion gulleys scar the land. Most practical people think that wildlife beyond the National Park boundaries is doomed in the long-term and that the emphasis must be in protecting and preserving the National Parks themselves from all incursion, whether human or livestock. In the absence of taking a hard line in this respect, the country could well lose what is within the National Parks as well as what is without, and with it will go an irreplaceable heritage with everyone the losers.
The rot started when the former Amboseli National Reserve inhabited by Masai tribesmen was made a full-blown National Park. Whereas a "National Reserve" was an area where wildlife was protected, but had to coexist with a resident human population whose interests were paramount, a "National Park" was an area of wilderness set aside exclusively for wildlife, and there the interests of wildlife took precedence. However, the change in the status of Amboseli set a precedent that is costing the other Parks dearly and if this is to be reversed, it is crucial that Amboseli should be given another distinct name, perhaps "A Partnership Park', to set it apart from the rest. Today, cattle are flooding into almost every National Park in the country, condoned by the Kenya Wildlife Service, and how can it be otherwise when they are permitted in Amboseli? Worse still, they bring with them diseases such as rinderpest jeopardising the survival of the wild ungulates in these their last strongholds. From Lake Jipe to Finchatten's Camp, Tsavo West has been turned into a dustbowl; the Orma are beginning to intrude into the Northern Area of Tsavo East, Somali livestock can be seen on the Golo plains in Meru National Park and during the dry season even fragile little Nairobi National Park is under intense pressure, while Kamba honeyhunters and poachers with dogs stroll around the Tiva river as though it were Hyde Park, even turning up at a tourist camp demanding hospitality!
Now, for some good news. On a personal level, 1996 has been a happy and healing year for Daphne; the elephant induced "hobble" gradually improved to a normal walk, and she is again fully functional. But, the happiest event of the year has been the
marriage of her younger daughter Angela, to Robert Carr-Hartley, progeny of another old Kenya family, whose grandfather lived
not far from where Daphne grew up. So, Angela has come back to her roots again, having completed her schooling in South Africa and had a taste of the fast lane. When her father died in 1977, she was only 12 years old.
The year as usual has been dominated by care of our Orphans, both Elephant and Rhino, and again happiness and success has inevitably been tempered by tragedy and sadness. The greatest tragedy has been a serious injury to the right foreleg of our seven year old female Rhino Scud, who, on the 20th May laboriously brought herself back home, using her chin to support her weight, the damaged limb limp and useless.
Scud, orphaned when just three months old, had been successfully integrated into the resident wild rhino community of Nairobi National Park (numbering some 60 individuals) and was one of the Trust's success stories. In fact, she was in every sense a wild rhino again, returning back to base only intermittently so we fully believed our role had been accomplished. Sadly, not so, because 9 months later, we are slowly having to come to terms with the awful truth that she may be left permanently disabled, since still the leg is unable to bear weight. She has, however, become fairly proficient on three.
A urine sample sent to Germany for examination confirmed what we suspected that Scud is, indeed, heavily pregnant and that her baby could be born within the next few months. (The gestation period for a rhino is 18 months).
The Veterinary prognosis was never encouraging. Basically there was nothing that could be done. If the radial nerve was damaged (as they suspected), only time could heal that, if at all; if the tendons had become detached, they could not be re-attached even in a horse, let alone a rhino, and if the leg was broken, there was no pin or plate capable of supporting a ton and a half!
Since she is not sufficiently agile to take evasive action should the need arise her Keepers have to accompany her at all times, in pairs by night, and singly during the day. Wild rhinos join her to browse nearby, but respect her space because of the Keepers. At night, however, the men rely on Scud to protect them from predators and when she lies down, they lie close alongside. When she resumes her travels, a lonely little lantern can often be seen bobbing about the bush, marking their passage. Now we await the arrival of the calf and see what time will bring.
On a happier note, Amboseli, our other female orphaned Rhino who will be ten years old in April of this year, and who is now living free in Tsavo East National Park, already has a calf, tracks monitored by the Rhino Surveillance Team attesting to its presence.
Amboseli seems to have established herself in the Pundamilia Valley after months of wandering far afield. Was she, we wonder, searching for Sam, her erstwhile Nursery companion who, tragically, died after being tusked by an elephant in a dispute over a mudwallow in the Mbololo watercourse? Like elephants, a rhino never forgets.
Another happy event has been the birth of a wild born calf to one of our larger elephants Mary, now 18 years old, had a bull calf at the beginning of 1996, but left Eleanor's group soon after, finding Eleanor too possessive of her baby. Escorted by Taru (handreared in the Nairobi Nursery and now ten) along with Thomas, Eleanor's wild adoptee, she and her baby set about finding another more accommodating Matriarch with an already established family of her own, and this they did. Once Mary and calf were settled, Taru and Thomas returned without her to rejoin Eleanor's group. Since then, it has been difficult to keep in touch with Mary
and her baby, but Daphne saw her once with the new herd when the calf was 6 months old.
Taru, who is 6 months younger than our oldest hand-reared orphan, Olmeg, is the first of our erstwhile infants to leave the custody of the Keepers and join the wild herds on a permanent basis, recently spending 7 months away from base. Much of his time is spent with Eleanor's group, Chuma being his big buddy, but he is also very attached to Mary, and we suspect that a lot of time is spent with her as well. However, he still remains in contact with his former Nursery peers, meeting up with them out in the bush whenever in the area.
Meanwhile Olmeg is also beginning to spend time away on his own, but still only in short spells, as are the other older orphans, who fraternise with the wild herds on a daily basis but seldom alone. When Olmeg is away, Dika appears to be "Boss" of "the Boys", as they are known, whilst Malaika (now eight years old), remains the self appointed "Matriarch" of the youngsters. The older group incorporates Olmeg, Dika, Edo, Ndume and mischievous Ajok, still the handful of yore. The babies include Emily (who stands in for Malaika on the odd occasion when Malaika simply cannot resist an outing with "The Boys"), Imenti the Brave (now sporting tooth-pick tusks!) precocious little Aitong (the miracle who recovered from brain damage) and now two new additions recently introduced from the Nairobi Nursery, Lominyek (whose name means 'the lucky one' and Zoe, named after Daphne's second grand-daughter.
In June, Eleanor puzzled us all by leaving her adopted family in the care of her 12 year old adopted daughter Lissa, overseen by her wild friend, the Matriarch Catherine. This is the first time Eleanor has behaved this way. Like Malaika, she has been a Matriarch to the younger orphans since the tender age of 5, anti now, at 40, it seemed a very un-Eleanor-like thing to do.
We worried, fearing the worst, but much later she was seen with some handsome bulls in tow; then she disappeared for four long months but was recently seen again by Daphne near Mudanda Rock amongst the wild elephants, by Samuel Kasiki at Irima Hill and more recently still by Simon Trevor near the Voi River. So, she is back in the area again, but has yet to rejoin her adopted family. Instead, it is Catherine and her family who are frequent visitors to the Stockades and are often with the orphans out in the bush.
What, we wonder, is Eleanor up to, although, of course, the fact that she is not actually with her family does not mean that she is not in touch. There is still a lot we do not know about elephant communication.
Meanwhile Zoe vies with Ajok for first place as "the naughtiest", and like him has never needed the Vet. She shared her first Nursery year with Sungelai and both babies were joined by Lominyek's in July 1996. Lominyek's poor mother died of gunshot wounds in Samburu, and he himself came in with a bullet wound in the foreleg. He was about 14 months old on arrival, victim of tribal turbulence in the North, where Samburu tribesmen are locked in almost daily conflict with Somali bandits as well as Turkana and Pokot cattle rustlers, all bristling with automatic fire-power. Lominyek had therefore grown up in an area where all humans are "the enemy". He came in sedated and when he came round, the first thing he wanted to do, was to kill the first human he saw, who happened to be our most proficient and gentle elephant Keeper, Mishak. Mishak rapidly vaulted over the dividing partition into Zoe's stable and Lominyek gradually calmed down, after several attempts at breaking down the door!
T he next morning, we let Sungelai and Zoe into his stable, and crowding around him, they rumbled their greetings, eager to escort him out. All three emerged together at sunrise, but when Lominyek found himself amidst more dreaded humans, he lost his nerve, and yelling his head off, fled into the bush, Sungelai and Zoe hot on his heels, and their Keepers after them!
Seized by despair, Daphne was at a loss to know what to do next, but she need not have worried, because several hours later, much to her amazement, a little procession appeared from the thicket below the house - Lominyek being escorted back by Sungelai and Zoe, one on either side of him, followed at a respectable distance by the Keepers.
By this time the daily visitors were beginning to assemble, all intent on viewing the Orphans' noon mudbath - a popular routine whenever there are infant elephants in the Nursery. Daphne was again seized by dismay, because on this particular day, a huge crowd had turned up, and she envisaged a few being flattened by the New Year plus incumbent, who was quite capable of exacting a telling revenge! But, even Daphne, who has spent a lifetime with Elephants, underestimated the sophistication of their communication. Incredibly, and unbelievably, Sungelai and Zoe by then had been able to persuade Lominyek that he had nothing to fear from the hordes of humans that now swarmed all around him, and taking his cue from them, he hesitantly greeted the people, gently offering the tip of a trembling little trunk, which was rapidly withdrawn when touched, ears up to signify unease, but nevertheless immaculately behaved. From that day on, although haunted for a time by the loss of his elephant family, Lominyek was transformed into a very gentle and forgiving little character and a great favorite who turned up trumps only weeks later when tragedy again struck, this time involving Sungelai. Now, it fell to him to ease the grief of Zoe over the loss of her yearlong Nursery companion.
Sungelai had long been somewhat of an enigma. There was an unusual fragility about him, and he was somewhat too quiet. Although older than Zoe by a month, he was soon overtaken by her in size, but we assumed this merely a genetic factor. At the beginning of September, however, he was quite obviously unwell, but in the absence of any obvious life threatening symptoms, we treated him for worms and put it down to teething. Then, on the morning of the 6th September, we were stunned to find that he had died quietly in his sleep, the Keeper curled up beside him quite unaware that anything was amiss until it was time to rouse him for the morning feed.
Inevitably, Zoe went into a decline when she realised that he was no more, and then Lominyek shook off his own grief to concentrate on comforting her, romping with gay abandon in the mudwallow entreating her to join in, which, after a day or two, she did. Meanwhile, the autopsy on Sungelai revealed that he had been born with a congenital heart defect, and as the volume of blood in his body increased, so the heart became enlarged, and eventually failed completely. It was as though we had lost a child, but at least there was comfort in knowing that we had been able to offer him one good year that would otherwise have been denied him.
Three months later, in early December it was time to move Lominyek and Zoe down to join the other orphans in Tsavo. Lominyek especially needed good elephant country now and the company of older elephants, and Zoe, who was a year old in November, would be able to complete her weaning year in Tsavo, as had Imenti and Aitong before her, both of whom had done very well.
As usual, Roy Carr-Hartley drove them and their Keepers down, leaving very early in the morning, and arriving at the other end at noon. As soon as Lominyek scented the other elephants, his excitement was obvious, and when he saw Malaika, emotion overcame better judgement and he took to butting her repeatedly as though to punish her, whilst Emily, Imenti and Aitong dashed around trumpeting with excitement, and Zoe remained close beside the Keepers. We think that Lominyek probably had a big sister the size of Malaika amongst his lost herd, and that this might have prompted this unusual behaviour, because since then, he has been literally glued to her side, something she finds slightly irritating. However he is equally as comfortable amongst "the Boys" obviously remembering his erstwhile herd, and again his confidence has influenced Zoe, who has settled in like a veteran, and formed a particular alliance with Aitong.
During the rains - the Festive Season for all elephants, when food is abundant and the waterholes fill - Olmeg always goes in search of what has come to be known as "his rubber duck", a sizeable log selected with great care and laboriously pushed into the middle of a waterhole deep enough for the elephants to immerse themselves in. With this he romps and plays, shoving it around the pool, up the banks and down again. The others are allowed to participate in the games, but should any of them play with it without him being present, he glowers disapprovingly from the bank! Daphne visited Lominyek and Zoe soon after they had been sent to Tsavo, and there in the midst of the Big Boys, being ducked by Ajok who was constantly being loudly reprimanded by the Keepers, was Lominyek, a tiny bump amidst a heap of large shiny bodies all tangled up with "The Rubber Duck"! Zoe, meanwhile, was engaged in a tussle with Aitong in the shallows.
Hardly three days respite back in the Nursery, and there was an influx of three more tiny elephant tragedies, all too far-gone for us to be able to retrieve. One, was the victim of a brutal spearing orgy by Masai Warriors in Amboseli National Park in which two elephants and a buffalo perished, and two other adult elephants were wounded. This tiny calf, who was only some 2 weeks old, had its tail hacked off and its feet mutilated. Not surprisingly, the trauma and stress of it all proved too much for him, and he went the way of the other two.
Such an incident in a National Park would normally be viewed as "poaching", and the perpetrators brought to book. A terse statement by K.W.S. in the press to the effect that the spearing was in reprisal for the elephants having killed a tribesman and that "the rogue animal would be dealt with accordingly" was not unexpected. No mention made, of course, of the human rogues who had inflicted such cruelty on a defenceless calf, and in front of tourists as well, or of the fact that such actions are hardly likely to engender more peaceful coexistence between humans and elephants in Amboseli, quite apart from the fact that it should never have happened in a "National Park" at all.
A major development within K.W.S. during 1996, and one we viewed with alarm, was a giant upheaval of the administrative system of the National Parks. Most of the best long serving Field Wardens were uprooted from places with which they had become familiar and for which they cared deeply in a move few folk could rationalise, especially for Tsavo, which has 2,000 miles of road and is the size of Michigan State, Israel or Wales. The men that took over would have to begin the familiarisation process all over again, and this would take years, not months. Wardens (who would hitherto be known as 'Partnership Officers) would work under Assistant Directors assigned to eight new regions, not unlike the regional structure of the Game Department of old.
It also came just prior to another crucial C.I.T.E.S. Meeting when I he international ivory ban is due to be reviewed, with strong pressure from the Southern States of Africa for it to be lifted. True to a pattern that has become familiar prior to every C.I.T.E.S. Convention, poaching was again escalating sharply in neighbouring countries, particularly in Zaire - a country in chaos also in Tanzania where the fresh tusks of no less than 800 elephants had recently been confiscated in Dar es Salaam. Several well known Amboseli elephants also perished as soon as they stepped across the border, and elephants were again being killed in the North of Kenya, and in Uganda, still beset by internal strife. There was positive proof that the illegal black market trade in ivory further South was flourishing, with existing stockpiles swelling in the hopes of the ban being lifted.
Once again, even the Tsavo elephants showed signs of fear at the approach of a vehicle, and still do, particularly near the Eastern boundary. However, in the absence of anyone in control at the Voi Headquarters, it has been difficult to establish what is going on. That we could regress back into the dark days of rampant poaching and cover-ups does not bear contemplation, but as long as the demand for ivory exists, the possibility is real. The elephants simply cannot weather another poaching holocaust on the scale of the seventies and eighties. Socially they are still disrupted, haunted by memory, and beset by human pressures. It is absolutely crucial that the Ivory Ban holds, otherwise the elephants are " in deep trouble. Ideally, ivory should be outlawed forever; and existing stockpiles destroyed. Then, and only then, will the elephants be safe.
Another equally alarming development was the killing in April of 19 elephants in the Turkana district of Kenya, but this time not for ivory, but for meat, highlighting the danger of downlisting the African Elephant to permit trade in elephant products other than ivory; another Southern African suggestion that will be brought before C.I.T.E.S.
1996 was an exceedingly dry year over many parts of the country. Lake Baringo, (remembered by Sir John Hewett aged 96 as a beautiful gin clear lake in which hippos, crocodile and fish were easily visible), all but dried up completely, leaving hippo exposed and starving. Erosion caused by domestic stock had silted up the lake and transformed what at the turn of the century used to be magnificent wildlife habitat into a pebbled scrubland where only goats and a few scrub cattle can exist. As the water receded, so the skeletons of elephants and other wild animals became exposed, macabre testimony to a greener era.
Similarly, Lake Nakuru also turned into a soda windblown dustbowl; the flamingoes left, and, worse still, many of the watering troughs installed when Kenya's first fenced Black Rhino Sanctuary was established there, fell into disrepair and remained so for far too long, affecting the Parks 30 plus Black Rhino.
Another Black Rhino tragedy that should never have happened involved the last of the Amboseli rhinos, who had taken to crossing into Tanzania, and who was captured and dumped arbitrarily in the fenced Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. There, predictably, she was almost beaten to death, not once, but twice, before being removed, subsequently to die from her injuries.
It is frustrating, and, in our opinion, inexcusable, that noone with practical experience in the field of rhino relocation is represented on the K.W.S. Rhino Forum, but then some elements within K.W.S. have long displayed an arrogant reluctance to seek
advice. Overlooking the lessons of the past and repeating the same old mistakes again cannot possibly serve their brief, but then Scientists have a habit of behaving in this way.
On a happier note, Nairobi Park yielded a further eight rhinos for free release in Tsavo East, and these all appear to be doing extremely well. A bull was seen recently by Peter Jenkins at Kanderi near the Voi Headquarters, a very long way from the point of release. Peter nearly fell out of his car, because a rhino has not been seen in that part of the Park since the mid seventies, so it was a Red Letter Day for him, who, as a junior Assistant Warden way back in the fifties remembers the days when if one did not see at least 40 Black Rhino in an afternoon's Game Drive, one left the Park disappointed.
As predicted, the Aruba Dam in Tsavo East also dried up for the first time since it was built by David way back in 1952. Again erosion induced silting carried by the floodwaters of the Voi River from the catchment area beyond the Park, was the underlying cause, and as the water in Aruba receded to a puddle, it left 30 feet of mud that proved a veritable deathtrap for the animals. The lone hippo - a great favourite with everyone -was forced to abandon home but perished before being able to reach the Galana river forty miles away, and buffalo, zebra and young elephant also perished, bogged down in the mud.
K.W.S. seemed unconcerned with the looming crisis, preoccupied as they were with regionalisation and their interminable "Workshops". The Trust, however, was deeply concerned since Aruba is the only source of dry season permanent water known to the thousands of wild ungulates born since 1952. Whilst the elephants would obviously fall back on the Galana, thousands of buffalo, zebra and other grazing species that may not even know of the Galana's existence could well perish, there being just one alternative water source nearby and that was the small waterhole fed from the Mukwaju borehole at Satao Camp. This, however, could not serve such great numbers.
Most opportunely the Manager of nearby Satao Camp happens to be a practical person, and was able to mobilise action to rescue two elephant calves and reunite them with their families. With emergency funding provided by the Trust, he was also able to set about reactivating two long defunct boreholes, one on the Ndara plains, and another at Aruba Lodge itself, so within just a few days there was water again on the Ndara plains and an alternative waterhole near the Airfield at Aruba, away from the treacherous mud of the lake.
Meanwhile K.W.S. agreed that three additional emergency boreholes would not be remiss, but this entailed an immediate outlay in excess of 5 million shillings, which they didn't have. They did, however, hurriedly undertake the environmental impact assessment study upon which they insisted prior to identifying the three sites.
Once again, the Trust was able to help, calling on its Swiss reserves (generated through the efforts of Esther and Philipp Wolf), with another sizeable donation from Hans and Barbara Rohring from the German Fostering Scheme and an injection of L20,000 from Care for the Wild who, as usual, responded promptly to a crisis. Hence within a week the necessary funding had been found and a Drilling Rig was on its way from Mombasa to begin work at the first site near BaIguda. It is hoped that it will reach water any day now.
Each year the Trust makes available to the Warden of Tsavo East a contingency fund of Shs.1 million to enable him to respond instantly to emergencies should the need arise. This year, our Shs.1 million donation went towards the translocation of a further 30 Hirola (previously) known as Hunter's hartebeest) to Tsavo East from the Tana River in the North, the only place in the world where they indigenously occur.
Because of their localised distribution and because their numbers are being eroded through human pressures, the Hirola are amongst the most endangered of antelopes. The precariousness of their survival was recognised way back in the early sixties, when 30 sub-adults were moved to Tsavo East and subsequently released at two sites. They proved extremely fragile animals to relocate and many crucial lessons were learnt during this first attempt. For instance, prolonged chasing during capture proved counter productive, as did holding them for any length of time in captivity. In fact, at the time, David doubted that any of the translocated hartebeest would survive the trauma of it all, but 20 that were airlifted as opposed to being moved by road, did, and have since proliferated in Tsavo to a small but thriving population of between 60 and 100.
Astonishingly, the Trust's expertise in this field was again overlooked, until, in the best interests of the Hirola antelope, we set about injecting Peter Jenkins into the "Hirola Forum". Fortunately, Peter's wise counsel prevailed in all things but one, the radio-collaring of the last 10 antelope on the insistence of Science, and with funding provided by W.W.F. Again, predictably, all but one of the collared Hirola ended up making a meal for a lion, it being well known that anything that makes an individual stand apart from the rest immediately targets the attention of the predators. However, the Tsavo population will benefit by being boosted by a further twenty of these quaint and extremely rare antelope who have the horns of an impala and the form of a hartebeest.
1996 saw the conclusion of the Trust's Pilot Leopard Project, which involved three "problem leopards" in field trials to determine whether the homing instinct could be over-turned by first holding the animal at the point of release prior to setting it free. Our experiments proved this to be so, but then, in order to encapsulate all available knowledge in one comprehensive document, and give it the stamp of Science, Peter Jenkins was charged with the mission that took him to South Africa and Namibia for consultations with almost every professional person who had ever had anything to do with leopards. It transpired that they didn't know much more than we did. In a nutshell, old males are not good candidates for release, since the territorial instinct is deeply entrenched, and their presence might disrupt already established territorial males, but that younger males and females could, and should, be given a second chance. Also, as in Southern Africa, there is a place for problem leopards on private land where they can be habituated through regular feeding as a tourist draw.
The report was submitted to K.W.S. in October and they have responded by proposing a Workshop to evaluate the modifications needed in their policy. It is the Trust's hope that this will come about and also result in more humane handling of the problem leopards who, instead of being transferred to a travelling Box, are simply transported, uncovered, in the trap in which they were caught, breaking their teeth and injuring themselves against the wire as a result.
The Trust again made a sizeable donation towards extra antipoaching surveillance in Mount Kenya National Park where wire snare poaching has always been a major problem and where poachers with large packs of dogs habitually pull down game on an unsustainable level, one example being no less than 4 eland and a bushbuck within just a couple of hundred yards.
Once again, we are deeply indebted to all our donors, who, with contributions great and small have enabled us to make a difference. As always, particular mention must be made of Don Barrett and Jacqui McAleer of Wyeth Laboratories for their ongoing assistance with the milk for our elephants, and to the R.A.F. for transporting it out to us. Rosie Whitton of R.A.F. Lyneham has bee a real star, as have Rob and Mandy Plant, R.A. F. representatives. this end, who have always ensured that our milk needs are met promptly and the consignment delivered to our door. As always we remain indebted to Care for the Wild for their proficient handling of the orphans' Fostering Programme, but more than that for prompt and positive assistance whenever called upon. Roland Witschel of Care for the Wild's German branch has likewise bee of enormous help in securing for us ex Germany Army uniform boots for our Keepers. Louise Charlton of the Canadian Kenya Wildlife Fund works tirelessly and alone for wildlife and she to deserves a medal for her stamina and perseverance, supported a she is by a nucleus of stalwart Canadian supporters to whom we are also indebted. Periodic and ongoing donations from the Eden Wildlife Trust remain a reliable lifeline for us whilst Esther and Philipp Wolf are still, as ever, towers of strength, along with Han and Barbara Rohring of Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas and their German supporters.
One of the fund-raising efforts that touched us most last yea was that of children from Bury Church of England High School who managed to raise, entirely through their own initiative and with the encouragement and support of their Teacher, Jackie Vet a staggering L9,800, to purchase a brand new Eicher lorry for transporting the Tsavo orphans' night greens. We thank Chris Staubo and Mike Duder of Polaris Motorama for giving us this vehicle at cost, and Graham Andrews of Eledrive for funding the construction of the body.
Finally, we report sightings of more unusual species for Tsavo further reinforcing the Park's fame as harbouring a greater variety 0 species than any other in the world. Abbots duiker and Topi were recently seen near Sala in Tsavo East by Peter Jenkins; a Sable was reported near Mudanda and what could only have been a Brown Hyaena seen by Daphne at Balguda, a species that is thought to be confined to Southern Africa. However, both David Sheldrick and Bill Woodley also reported seeing Brown Hyaena in Tsavo, so, & in the days of old, the "Taru Desert" still harbours many mysteries.
And we close on what we hope will be a happy ending for our three orphaned zebra, Magwa, Aruba and Bahati, who looked like turning into "problem animals" having been moved to the Sable Valley Sanctuary in the Shimba Hills. There Bahati, the stallion, began to view humans as Potential competitors for his two wives, so we had all three moved to the nearby Malanganji Sanctuary, a beautiful fenced valley where Bahati would not come into contact with humans, other than those who might intrude illegally, and then his aversion would be beneficial in helping to keep them out! With the permission of the Warden Tsavo East, the Trust was then able to relocate to Malanganji another 7 zebras, who were posing a danger to traffic on the main road near Manyani. Their arrival has given Bahati something else to think about in the form of healthy competition from another zebra stallion with a potential for more wives than just Magwa and Aruba. He has since managed to hijack one!
And so, we wait to see what 1997 brings. Daphne plans to again pick up the threads of the book that was interrupted by her leg injury, and to be able to find the time and peace of mind to sit down quietly and complete it.
Again, a very happy 1997 to all our supporters. May it see a turning point in the fortunes of all wild animals with more reverence for life and Nature.
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The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya