One WHOLE year plus 6 weeks !! Crazily shocking unbelievable times, in some ways it has flashed by but in many others it has dawdled ! So much has happened and so many emotions – anger, sadness, frustration but also times of joy, happiness and calm. Very easy to dwell on the bad stuff but better to try be hopeful and positive and I think it is this that has carried us this far through our chaos along with the help, thoughts and vibes of so many people here in Kenya and across the world that has kept us going.
The last week has seen an improvement from last week, with illegal cattle coming in only once near Matigari and very early in the morning and left before dawn and no shooting ! Our patrols and NPR teams are constantly patrolling and monitoring the boundary,by vehicle, by foot and from lookouts – not without a few delays, stopping to repair sections of stonewall broken by elephants or getting completely stuck up to the ‘diff’ and springs but managing to get out without having to call the tractor in !
On Kieni, our small holder neighbours on the south, there has been a lot of work by the small holder farmers together with the Local Government Administration and Security to ensure that only livestock belonging to owners of land is allowed which has resulted in some cattle movement out of the area with a big herd leaving through us today and others heading east through Pesi. There is still hundreds, probably thousands of head on Lombara on our northern boundary with more herds having arrived in the last couple of days.
Elephants are still here in big numbers, causing damage to our Eucalyptus plantations and vegetation as well as using us as a hiding place from which to go crop raiding on our neighbours which is not making them welcome guests. A very relaxed lioness was seen yesterday; probably the same one seen with cubs a few weeks ago, and also probably accompanying the male lion that attempted to injure but luckily not kill one of our stud cows around the same time. Thankfully she is a bit further away from the main compound than on the previous sighting. ECF still causing us a problem but only lost one dairy cow this week and this was compounded by her falling in the spillway and getting wet and very cold before we could get her out.
Our small herd of orphan dairy calves, their mums died in our enforced drought; are doing well, have been weaned off being milk fed and have taken to raiding the stash of barley and ranch cubes and occasionally being allowed to share with an old stud Bull who is still on treats!
We have had quite a bit of rain over the last few days with reports of much heavier rain further north which one hopes will help regenerate grazing outside the ranches.