What a busy week in Samburu!


Fraizer Onyango, Local Intern

Date Published

Its still harsh in Samburu, very hot and dry indeed, no signs of rains soon. It was very amazing to find people enjoying bathing with the camp’s hard and salty water like twice or thrice a day. The week started with day to day monitoring of elephants. And for all the elephants found, David and Jerenimo recorded the number, the activity of the elephant at that particular time, GPS locations and the time the animals were seen. On my side, it was quite challenge because I was very curious to identify any elephant we came across and I could keep on asking David these names and families because anytime I meet a family I couldn’t tell the differences. But, much determination and the guidance from the LTM team, I was able do able to get some elephant families such as the Zodiacs, Butterflies, Royals, Poetic 1, Artists and the Rivers.

The week was so busy and very enjoyable, I , Daud and Jerenimo could spend most of the time in bush, under the scotching sun doing the mammal census along buffalo spring east, buffalo spring south, Samburu east down to Ngare mara swamp and ends at the airstrip. Not good numbers of animals we recorded, this was evident because of the drought in Samburu that has caused many animals to move scattered all over in search of food and water. It was a vast experience identifying all the animals by their names .E.g. impalas, gerenuk, Kirk dik dik, and gravy’s zebra among others. The GPS location, time and the number of animals seen recorded in the designed mammal census data sheet.

The most amazing episode of the week was spending time with Andrew and Jerenimo doing aerial counts of the elephant carcasses. On Thursday and Sunday, we spent at least five hours in the morning flying in Andrew’s chopper and counting everything that you could observe from the plan. Apart from elephant carcasses, number of shoats, cattle, camels, manyattas, donkeys and other wild animal species were recorded in the data sheet.

On Thursday night at around 7.00pm, on arrival from a short game drive with David, Jerenimo and Monica, it was unusual at the camp. Women and children crowded everywhere. It was disturbing to establish that they flew for their security from the cattle rustlers. The camp was full of tension and everyone was just wake and ready for any strange episode. At around 8.00pm, the movie started again and gun shots could be heard towards airstrip. Thank God that they never reached the camp. The night was so long. But all in all everything cooled down and life returned to normal.

On Saturday, I spent most of my morning hours in the camp doing data entry for the mammal census in the excel data sheet awaiting analysis. In the evening we took a short game drive through Elephant Watch Camp with David, Monica and Sharon (BBC) just to observe the elephants. It was a nice venture for our visitor to get elephants -the Rivers, at around 7.00pm next to Elephant Watch Camp.