The show ends as the wildebeests heads south

The migrating wildebeests and zebras have now embarked on a southbound trek. Due to the short rain we had recently in the Mara, which extended south to central Serengeti, the wildebeest after staying in the Mara and north Serengeti, have now embarked on a south bound journey. For the past four months since the arrival into Masai Mara in early June this year, the wildebeests have been crisscrossing the border between Serengeti and Masai Mara. This is because of the prolonged dry spell in the region which reduced availability of fresh water in central and south Serengeti.

I have just come back from Serengeti and the first herds are now in central Serengeti while some are still in the north but all in a general southbound trek. In my observation though, I think the herds might head south then come to central or western Serengeti unless there is sufficient rain int he south over the coming month.
In Masai Mara, there are still herds concentrated in certain areas in the main reserve and on the conservancies. Some of these are thought to be the Loita herds and some of the Serengeti herds which will leave later. These year, most people could not understand why the wildebeests kept going into Serengeti and back to the Mara so many times unlike in recent years. This all had to do with the prolonged drought and lack of the short rains in August.
I will keep you updated.

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New Envoys Urged to Lobby Against Trade in Endangered Wildlife Species in Kenya Destinations Sites.

Kenya Wildlife Service has urged 32 newly-appointed ambassadors, high commissioners and heads of missions to help Kenya sustain advocacy on total ban on international ivory and rhino horn trade.

Ag. Director General William Kiprono asked the diplomats to help in demand reduction campaign on wildlife and wildlife products.

Ivory, rhino horns, reptiles, pangolins, and sandal wood are some of the wildlife and wildlife products being poached and trafficked for international black markets

While addressing their induction programme at KWS headquarters on Monday afternoon (October 6, 2014), Mr Kiprono asked them to use their diplomatic missions to lobby other countries to help reduce the demand for endangered species.

Africa range states have faced unprecedented poaching in recent past with 302 elephants and 59 rhino poached in year 2013 in Kenya alone.  Since the beginning of the year, 116 elephants and 26 rhinos to poachers has been lost to poachers.

“In the last six months, however, we have turned the corner and the worst is behind us. We hope to keep the poaching cartels on the run and make them face the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

He said that the government is fully aware of the magnitude of wildlife crime and has mobilized resources locally and internationally to curb the vice. Besides poaching, he pointed habitat loss, human wildlife conflict due to growth in human population and climate change as other challenges facing wildlife conservation in the 21st century.

He urged the diplomats to use their missions to encourage international community to invest in conservation areas and assure tourists that Kenya’s national parks and the country are safe destinations.

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KWS seeks partnership in raising awareness on plight of rhino

Ag. Director General KWS Mr. William Kiprono has advocated for sustained awareness campaigns on the plight of the rhino during a ceremony to mark this year’s World Rhino Day on Monday (September 22, 2014) at Nanyuki town, Laikipia County.

He also sought application of deterrent severe penalties for poachers and dealers in rhino products to robustly tackle the current high poaching threat to rhinos. 26 rhinos has been poached this year compared to 59 in year 2013.

In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Director Species Conservation and Management Mr. Patrick Omondi, Kiprono said that all of the world’s rhino species are under threat, mostly from poaching for their horn.

The horn is mainly used for traditional Eastern medicine. However, rhino horn does not have any proven medicinal properties.

“This day is therefore dedicated for actions and activities to raise awareness and let the world know that we care about the plight of rhinos,” he said.

There is currently an alarming rise in the number of rhino being killed in Africa affecting both the Black Rhinoceros and White Rhinoceros population. The three Asian species, the Greater One-horned rhinoceros, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Javan rhinoceros are also threatened by habitat destruction.Kiprono said that KWS is committed to combat this vice by modernizing its security operations, systems and troops deployment.

“Will ensure that troops and field operators use modern equipment and embrace the latest and appropriate technology in their day to day operations to stop any further poaching incidences,” he said.

KWS, County governments, private and community sanctuaries have been working together to minimize threats posed to rhinos. Cumulatively, Aberdare’s National Park, Solio, Olpajeta, Oljogi, Lewa, Borana and Illngwesi host more than half of Kenya’s rhino population currently estimated at 1041.

Other stakeholders who participated in the event included local communities, County Government of Laikipia, World Wide Fund for nature (WWF), Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Association of Private & Community Land Rhino Sanctuaries .

World Rhino Day, now in its fifth year, is a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals from across the globe in demystify the myths on use of rhino horns and to diminish the demand for the horn.http://www.kws.org/info/news/2014/30sept2014.html