KWS benefits from USD18,000 from International Elephant Foundation to minimize ivory trafficking.

Kenya Wildlife Service has received USD 18,000 from the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) to support anti-poaching activities in the expansive Tsavo Conservation Area. http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/20feb2014elephant.html

 The project aims to ensure effective actions are taken to minimize illegal killing of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the area. 

The project will enhance ground patrol effort by rangers backed up by a detailed coverage of the ecosystem through aerial patrols. Increased surveillance will be conducted in the known poaching hotspots especially the Galana ranches and areas north of the Galana River where poaching has persisted since1970. Aerial and ground security patrols will be conducted in the Taita ranches, which form an important corridor linking Tsavo East and West National Parks. 

To minimize porosity at the Mombasa port and other border towns, routine patrols will be conducted. With the assistance of the Kenya Revenue Authority at border points, random inspection of cargo will be conducted. Also, on the Mombasa– Nairobi highway, random checks will be conducted at regular times on public, private and cargo vehicles and trains. The project will also strengthen intelligence reports, which are expected to lead to arrests and prosecution of offenders. New location of patrol bases will be modeled and identified using remote sensing and GIS data layers and appropriate software.  

Specific outputs from this project include: reduced poaching of elephants, better equipped and coordinated security patrol teams, improved reliable data on the current poaching hotspots, reduced impeded dealing with ivory and ivory products. In the long term, it is anticipated that the concerted effort to eliminate illegal poaching and trafficking of elephants in Tsavo and the country at large will drastically go down, which will lead to growth in the elephant population in Kenya.  The specific objectives of this project are:

  1. To equip patrol teams with modern technology for monitoring poaching activities
  2.  To determine the number and distribution of elephant carcasses in Tsavo
  3. To ensure sustained security presence in the entire conservation area
  4. To seal major ivory transit routes and borders

 

  1. To identify new locations of security patrol bases
  2. Develop a documentary for creating awareness on the need to conserve elephants.

Sharon C

www.soinafricasafaris.com

 

 

 

Kenya gets bilateral support for anti-poaching fight to safe wildlife in the wild.

Recent report from Canadian and Dutch Governments says, “they have committed themselves to supporting Kenya in combating international wildlife trafficking”.

http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/14Feb2014antipoachingfight.html

The Canadian government committed $2 million (Ksh160 million) emergency funding while the Dutch Government will support Kenya Wildlife Service activities at the Mombasa port, including provision of additional sniffer dogs, container scanners and capacity building.

Canada will build the capacity of Kenya Wildlife Service to combat international wildlife trafficking at source, thereby improving national security and stability in the rural and border areas by disrupting illicit networks involved in poaching and illegal trade of wildlife. Specifically, the money will be used in wildlife security enhancement, equipping the forensic laboratory and outreach, public awareness and education on poaching.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made the announcement at the just-ended London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade which ran from February 13 to 14.“Illegal wildlife trafficking is known to fund the drug trade, corruption and terrorist activities in Africa,” said Mr Baird. “Canada continues to make a positive contribution to this fight.”

In his address to the conference, Mr Baird recommended that the world take urgent and decisive action to deal with the current poaching crisis that threatens the survival of the African elephant and rhinoceros populations and has dire consequences for security, governance and the livelihoods of communities. Prof Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources led a high-powered Kenyan delegation that included KWS officials to the London conference. Illegal trade in wildlife has increased exponentially over the past five to seven years and affects international security, stability, governance and biodiversity. In curbing all these will increase Kenya tourists in Kenya.

Sharon C

www.soinafricasafaris.com

Great achievements on Kenya safari with KQ’s Flight

It might soon become more attractive for a business or leisure traveler to take a flight from Nairobi to Kisumu Mombasa or Eldoret rather than use road transport.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000104950&story_title=excitement-over-kq-s-low-cost-carrier-

 

This follows introduction of low-cost carrier Jambo Jet by Kenya Airways, which will launch flights from Nairobi to Kisumu, Mombasa and Eldoret at Sh3, 000 one-way. Passengers currently pay between Sh1, 600 and Sh1, 800 for a bus ride from Nairobi to Mombasa. The announcement by Kenya Airways comes at a time when night bus travel ban is still in force, a situation that is inconveniencing to businesspeople that need to travel often. “I believe the market in Kenya safaris is ripe for low-cost carriers. The economy is growing and there is a fast growing middle class with IT penetration and credit/debit card usage much more widespread than in many African States,” said Dr Elijah Chingosho-secretary general, African Airlines Association. In an email interview, he said most middle-class people currently travel by surface transport. A low-cost carrier will result in reduced ticket prices and this will make air transport more affordable. Affordable travel Experts maintain that the lowering of the cost air tickets will lead to development of a new markets by attracting people who have never used air transport before. “It will be possible to travel faster, easier and cheaper from Nairobi to Mombasa-especially when required to physically verify cargo at the port,” said William Ojonyo-Chief Executive-Keynote Logistics Limited. Beginning April 1, 2014, Jambo Jet will begin local flights on the Nairobi to Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa routes before venturing to other regional destinations. It costs about Sh1,500 to travel by a luxury bus service from Nairobi to Eldoret in a journey that lasts between five-six hours, while it costs half of this amount and about four hours in a shuttle. KQ’s re-entry into the low-cost carrier business puts it on a collision course with other players already in this segment. The crowded field in low-budget operators includes East African Safari Air Express, a subsidiary of Fly 540 Kenya, which began three weekly flights from Nairobi to Lokichogio a few days.

 

Sharon

www.soinafricasafaris.com

 

 

Experience the Little Five wildlife creatures on Kenya safaris.

Traveling in Kenya safaris, undoubtedly you will be viewing the Big Five. Strong, fierce and wild, the Big Five game is Africa’s pride and receives central attention. But there is another unique group that should not be forgotten – the Little Five. Finding the Little Five can also be a rewarding wildlife experience in Africa safaris. These Little Five creatures include the elephant shrew, ant lion, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and the leopard tortoise. 

Elephant Shrew

The Elephant Shrew has long noses resembling elephant trunks but with a size similar to a large mouse, the elephant shrew is the smallest mammal among the Little Five.  With their long legs, they hop in search of small bites to eat.  The elephant shrew is hard to find as they are well camouflaged with their sandy brown colors.  Occurring throughout South Africa and Botswana, watch out for the small creature scrambling across dusty safari roads.  An interesting fact about elephant shrews is that recent scientific research has shown that elephant shrews are genetically closer related to aardvark and elephants than to the rest of the shrew clan.

Ant Lion

The smallest creature in the Little Five group, the ant lion cleverly survives in the African bushveld.  Ant lions are larvae of an insect similar in appearance to the dragonfly.   With an impressive display of technique and skill, the ant lion digs a funnel-shaped crater in sandy soils. These funnels act as a clever drama stage: when potential prey approaches, the ant lion will pretend to be an ant falling down the funnel, stimulating the prey to lurch after the fallen ant, an easy meal!  But only to discover it has been trapped, and so the ant lion catches prey in its trap.

Rhino Beetle

The rhino beetle is one of southern Africa’s largest beetles.  With its impressive body armor it is kitted to win the bushveld battle.  The rhino beetle’s horn resembles the rhino’s horn.  This horn is used to dig and burrow for food.  The rhino beetle is known for its impressive strength – in comparison to its small body size.  Male rhino beetles also use their horns to fight over food and females.   

Buffalo Weaver Bird

There are a few kinds of buffalo weaver birds in Africa, including the Black Buffalo Weaver, the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver and the White-headed Buffalo Weaver.  Buffalo weavers are large birds feeding on insects and fruits and seeds.  Living highly sociable lives with huge communal nests, these weavers are highly enjoyable to watch.  Home to many of Africa’s large parks, the buffalo weaver is the easiest among the Little Five to find and observe.

 

 

Leopard Tortoise

  Unlike its namesake, the leopard tortoise covers land very slowly.  The leopard tortoise shells are quite beautiful, with perfect symmetrical black and yellow patterns.  The largest tortoise found in Africa, the leopard tortoise is found throughout southern and eastern Africa but with preference for savanna grasslands.   As they mature, their tortoise shell color changes from dark brown to yellow. 

Africa is a continent of true diversity, as so clearly demonstrated by the Big Five and Little Five wildlife.  The purpose behind Africa’s Little Five is exactly this: to demonstrate the extreme wildlife diversity found on the continent – from extremely big to extremely small, you can find them all on safari.  Some of these Little Five creatures are quite hard to spot, making your encounter with the Little Five even more remarkable experience to recall.  

Sharon C

Kenya Africa safaris

www.soinafricasafaris.com

Provisional results of 2014 Tsavo Mkomazi of elephants in Kenya safaris.

Provisional results of 2014 Tsavo Mkomazi of elephants

 Provisional results from the just-concluded 2014 aerial census of elephants and other large mammals in Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem show that the elephant population is about 11,000, compared to 12, 573 in the previous census three years ago.

http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/10feb2014.html

 This finding indicates that the elephant population in the Tsavo ecosystem is fairly stable and has potential for growth, according to Dr Erustus Kanga, the Kenya Wildlife Service Senior Assistant Director for Biodiversity.

Since 1999 when systematic counts were started, the elephant population has oscillated as follows: 1999 (9,447 elephants) 2002 (9,284), 2005 (11,742), 2008 (11,733), 2011 (12, 573), and 2014 (11,076).

This indicates that the Tsavo elephant population in the 48,656 square kilometre ecosystem has been stable despite numerous challenges related to poaching, livestock incursions into protected areas, charcoal burning and general change in land use patterns in the dispersal areas and corridors.

Going forward it’s expected that with these results, stakeholders will join hands with Kenya Wildlife Service to actively address factors that are likely to negate conservation gains that have been made this far

The aerial counts have been conducted to establish the trends of elephants in the expansive Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem and they are held every three years. Mkomazi in Tanzania, Tsavo West, Tsavo East, Chyulu Hills national parks, South Kitui National Reserve as well as the adjacent areas of Taita ranches and Mackinnon area in Kwale were covered in the four days. The total aerial census counted elephants and other large mammals. 

The census was co-funded by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), African Elephant Fund (AEF), David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) and Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE. 

A total of 15 aircraft were used in the survey that included five from KWS and 10 from conservation partners namely: DSWT (4), Tsavo Trust (1), Masai Wilderness Conservation Trust – MWCT (1), Save The Elephants -STE – (1), William Craig (1), Peter Zennetti (1) and Rod Evans (1).

The 15 aircraft with GPS technology comprehensively covered 48,656 square kilometers of the ecosystem. Other animals counted besides elephants were zebra, buffalo, giraffe, wild dogs, rhino, eland and lion as well as large birds such as ostrich. 

The census participants numbering 130 were drawn from a multiplicity of disciplines: pilots, ecologists, conservation managers, aircraft technicians, GIS experts, data loggers, data analysts, security officials, radio operators, drivers, procurement officers, accountants, conservation education officers, workshop managers, community wildlife officers, aerial census experts (Marwell Wildlife), database officers, communication experts, etc.

Since this was a trans-boundary census, the Republic of Tanzania was represented by officials from Tanzania National Parks Authority

(TANAPA) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI).

Aerial counts of the Tsavo ecosystem have been carried out since the 1960’s. The results help KWS and stakeholders to understand wildlife numbers, wildlife distribution, trends in wildlife numbers and trends in land use changes outside the Government protected areas. Armed with these information, policy makers and park management are able make sound decisions on resource allocation for operations and conflict management.

Mr Ben Kavu, the KWS Deputy Director in charge of Devolution and Community Wildlife Service, this morning announced the provisional results at census tallying centre at Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge.

Sharon C

Kenya wildlife safaris

www.soinafricasafaris.com

 

Birding in Kenya Safaris

Kenya safaris ranges from the world’s biggest bird, the Ostrich, to spectacular flamingos that congregate in their millions at the various Lakes of the Great Rift Valley and camouflage them in pink, Kenya holds some remarkable birding sights that you have to explore in the wild.Kenya’s birding safaris is one of the best attraction in Kenya and in the world as this have makes Kenya destination to be on a competitive edge. 

The various varieties of birds in Kenya are made possible by the favorable climate, diverse habitats and geographical features that make it a suitable migratory route for birds.
Even without venturing outside Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, more than 600 resident and migratory bird species are found more than in any other capital city, and more than in most countries.
In Nairobi you are guaranteed to find birds everywhere you travel. A stroll in hotel gardens, a trip to the Nairobi National Park or the grounds of the National Museum is likely to turn up bright black and yellow weavers, tiny iridescent sunbirds resembling flying jewels, Secretary Bird, Bustards and Mouse birds with long tails, which are unique to Africa.
The giant Marabou Storks, a frequent visitor to the city, now nests on the acacia trees along the streets which makes your safari realistic and memorable. Bird watching is good all year round in Kenya safaris tours. 

 The rainy seasons of April and November coincide with migration of birds from and to Europe and Asia, and some of the top day’s totals have been recorded at that time.
Migrants make up only about ten percent of Kenya’s birdlife, however, and the spectacular birds of the bush –guinea fowl, go-away birds, rollers and barbets, to mention but a few – are active all year round.

 Visits to a variety of habitats, such as the dry-country parks of Tsavo or Samburu, the western grasslands of the Maasai Mara, one of the Rift Valley lakes or one of the highland forests, will produce a long and varied bird list.
A surprisingly wide range of habitats can be visited on day trips from Nairobi. These include Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, the dry bush around the Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site, and the Escarpment Forests in the foothills of the Aberdare mountain range.

To see Kenya’s rarest, indigenous and unfortunately endangered birds, the bird enthusiast needs to seek out forests or highland grasslands tucked away amongst various farmlands. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest near Malindi, tops the list, with the six threatened bird species of the Sokoke Scops Owl, Sokoke Pipit, Spotted Ground Thrush, East Coast Akalat, Amani Sunbird and Clarke’s Weaver. Some other areas including the forest “islands” at the top of the Taita Hills, near Voi, is home to the beautiful but critically endangered Taita Thrush and Taita Apalis, as well as the endangered Taita White-eye. Sharpe’s Long claw and Aberdare Cisticola, native and endangered, live in the highland grasslands near the Aberdare mountain range.

In western Kenya, Kakamega Forest is a little patch of Guineo-Congolian rainforest in Kenya. Among the many rainforest species found are spectacular Turacos and Hornbills, and the tiny, endangered Turner’s Eremomela.
The scarce and threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler is found in papyrus swamps on the shores of Lake Victoria, alongside the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Canary, all papyrus endemics. Local bird guides are available at numerous of sites and are your best aid for locating and identifying the many species. They live at or near these sites and their birding interest is nurtured by that association with visiting scientists, birders and added to by some formal training.

It is advisable to contact the local guides association if you will be spending time at a specific site. By using local guides, you increase your bird citing success. More importantly, you will be supporting the conservation of that site by the involvement of the local community in sustaining the areas ornithology. Professional bird guides and Tour Operators who can accompany you on safari also provide additional guiding services that will broaden your birding experience in the wild.

 Sharon C

www.soinafricasafaris.com