Masai Mara: Raptors and the ecosystem
We enjoyed spending time out in the field with Lemein Par, the Project Coordinator of the Mara Raptor Project. A crucial part of the project’s work entails the monitoring of 200+ raptor nests across the Mara, including the placement of cameras in nests to find out the productivity, diet, parental roles and chick development, along with many other innovative data collection ideas.
Lemein Par gives a presentation at Governors’ Camp – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Lemein has been trained and equipped to conduct an intensive standardised nest survey in the Mara. We were pleased to donate both 10,000 KES and 40 litres of diesel to their nest monitoring work this month. Lemein also gave a fascinating presentation to our guiding team on the work of the project as well as the importance of raptors to the ecosystem.
Recording data of the tree chosen for a martial eagle’s nesting site – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Lemein monitors a raptor next using a 15m camera pole – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Our team removed a total of 14.4km of the invasive weed Datura stramonium from our roadsides.
Our Mara staff use the quieter periods to remove this troublesome weed from disturbed areas such as roadsides – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Wilson Sairowua, the Conservation Officer for the Mara Elephant Project visited Governors’ Camp to give a talk to our guiding team on the threats facing elephants in the ecosystem, the use of elephant collars for conservation and innovative ways that are being explored to keep elephants out of farmland such as chilli fences and chilli ‘bombs’.
MEP presentation for guests and staff at Governors’ Camp – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Elephants hate chilli, so farmers can use this to their advantage in order to repel the animals from their farms without coming into direct contact with a potentially very dangerous animal.
Loldia House: Changing the mindset for conservation
We spent a full day at the Naivasha Bird of Prey centre learning more about threats facing raptors in the wild including electrocution from power lines, impact with wind turbines and surprisingly, from drowning in open water tanks.
Shiv Kapila feeds a Rüppell’s vulture – photo credit Fernando Faciole
The welfare of the birds is the top priority and it is clear that director Shiv Kapila and his small team work incredibly hard to ensure that all the birds in their care have all of their needs met and that those that can be, are rehabilitated for release back into the wild.
One of their main expenses at the centre is the purchase of meat that is needed to feed the birds. Governors’ has donated 60,000 KES in order for them to buy 300kg of beef to feed the birds for the next four to six weeks.
A badly injured Verreaux’s eagle owl is hand fed – photo credit Fernando Faciole
As a visitor, it is interesting to meet the birds and learn about their particular quirks and charms. We highly recommend a visit to the centre for our guests who are staying with us at Loldia House.
We also paid a visit to the Soysambu Raptor Centre to learn more about the long-term rehabilitation of raptors. Simon Thomsett who runs this centre is one of the world’s most renowned raptor experts and has dedicated his life to the rehabilitation of raptors, the art and science of falconry and improving raptor veterinary practices.
Simon Thomsett with a juvenile black sparrow hawk – photo credit Fernando Faciole
It was an honour to spend the day with him and meet many of the birds that call this centre home. We made a donation of 20,000KES towards the medical treatment of injured birds.
Simon in his clinic at the Soysambu Raptor Centre – photo credit Fernando Faciole
We welcomed twenty children from TAFA community centre for another educational visit to Loldia House. These were the kids who recently won their football championship in Kasarani village and each spent time on the lake and on a game drive.
TAFA kids pose beneath one of Loldia’s ancient fig trees – photo credit Fernando Faciole
They helped to remove ghost nets from the lake and learnt about the importance of conserving our wildlife and environment. Despite living just a few hundred metres from the lake, the majority had never had the opportunity to go out on the water and enjoy what it is that draws tourists to the area.
Some of the kids had never been on Lake Naivasha – photo credit Fernando Faciole
It was a great privilege to witness their smiling faces as they pointed out wildlife and touched the water. We answered questions and gave them a tour of the Loldia House grounds. We hope to have inspired this next generation to become conservation enthusiasts!
An African fish eagles makes its catch – photo credit Fernando Faciole
“The smiles and the conservation messages passed on, contributes a great deal to changing the mindset of these kids. It makes them appreciate what is around them and to take care of it. We are so happy that you made all this possible, it really touches our heart. Please pass our many thanks to the whole team at Governors’ that received our kids and took them through everything. May God bless them abundantly”~ coach Sammy.
Enjoying game drives on Loldia ranch – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Happy smiles all round – photo credit Fernando Faciole
We are pleased to welcome the Kenya coast guard to Lake Naivasha. A team now patrols the lake and enforces the law by regulating catch sizes; closing important breeding areas in order that fish stocks can replenish and by checking that all boats are complying with rules such as fishing licensing and the use of life jackets by passengers and crew.
Mugie Conservancy: Tracking lions and livestock
We are looking forward to receiving our lion tracking equipment from South Africa! This will allow us to offer the activity as part of the Mugie experience to our guests who are interested in learning more about how lion collars are used in a 21st century conservation model.
Radio tracking helps determine where predators are in relation to livestock – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Having first located collared lioness Gaby from GPS data collected at the Mugie HQ, our team was able to head out with Max Lovatelli (the Mugie Programs Manager) in order to find her using their radio tracking equipment.
Max Lovatelli uses tracking equipment to locate lioness Gaby – photo credit Fernando Faciole
The conservancy is able to keep livestock herders updated using the tracking data in order to keep the herds away from a couple of the bigger lion prides in the area and therefore reduce the incidences of lions preying on cattle and in turn, human-wildlife conflict.
Gaby is the most recently collared lion on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Fernando Faciole
The Moyo Foundation is a grassroots, volunteer-run project that works to provide healthcare and family planning to remote pastoralist Samburu and Pokot communities in the North-Western corner of Laikipia.
A Pokot woman allows for a photo in front of her homestead – photo credit Fernando Faciole
We made a donation of 25,000 KES to support the work of their medical outreach clinics.
The Moyo Foundation provides medical support in rural areas – photo credit Will Fortescue
By Alisa Karstad, Community and Conservation Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection.
Images are courtesy of nature and conservation photographer Fernando Faciole, who spent the month of May at Governors’ properties, documenting the important work of our conservation partners in Kenya as well as our own sustainability efforts.