Baby White Rhino Born….

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Yesterday in the park driving home, kids & I came across these 3 lionesses stalking zebra….

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Then we came aross this rhino -white, because she’s grazing -& on closer inspection noticed she had a tiny calf nearby……

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Astonishingly tough, these creatures, as this cow was translocated into NNP barely 2 months ago……..thank goodness they both survived!

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Handsome little chap…..or is it a she??

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How can something so tiny grow into something so large?

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Magnificent creatures, rhinos, & lucky for them they have the 117 sq km of NNP to ‘be’ in…..

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And the park is greening up a little after rain -GRASS for them rhinos!

Lions & buffalo

Pictures & story by Gareth Jones & Rob Allen, Nairobi Park stalwarts! Thanks guys!

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There might be a second pride of lions in formation in Nairobi National Park at the moment & here is the chancer – a young lion often bullied in the past by the dominant male Ujonjo. Could these 4 lionesses be Gammyleg & (now adult) cubs?

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So he gets his chance to mate…..the lions (estimated 25-30) in the park are doing well with the plethora of food -dead cattle & all the grazers in the wider ecosystem all in the park right now owing to the drought…..

Notice the grazing buffalo in the background.

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Our male takes on a cow buffalo, who according to Rob who took these pics was very weak. Several buffalo have been reported dead in the last week. Could a nasty bacteria or virus have been introduced o the park by the hundreds of grazing cattle which are in the park every day?

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The kill -Rob says “they danced around til he got the drop….”

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It is actually a good thing for the NNP lions to learn how to take on buffalo, given that both populations of lions & buffaloes are growing at a fast rate. In the past very few buffalo have been brought down by the lions……

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Well deserved meal…..

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His posture tells it all………

 

STILL no rain…..

Firstly an apology for a minor disaster occurred when the magic box rubbed out the images from my camera especially taken for YOU dear reader this last weekend…

You’ll have to put up with images from the archives & my random thoughts instead….

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This image -a recent gigantic wedding -sums up the KWS attitude to the protected areas under it’s remit, by law, to protect & preserve for the future Kenya’s priceless natural treasures. Recent policy seems to concentrate on business strategems such as ‘rebranding’, issuing new smartcards that do not work outside NNP & issuing press briefings talking of ‘world class parks’.

The reality is that the fence around the park is obsolete & is broken into regularly by folks on the city side & is obvously not electrified & the park is covered with unsightly litter.

So what happened to park management & why were there hundreds of cattle in the park on sunday (a prime day for visitors, many of whom fork out 40$ to KWS to enter the park…)? Where is all the revenue going? To pen-pushers sitting on their computers in KWS HQ thinking of how to bolster revenues whilst Kenya’s protected areas struggle to survive……

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THIS is who KWS should be thinking of…..recent calculations extapolated from Kenya’s income from tourism (divided by the number of lions estimated to exist in the country) show that each wild lion could be worth a million bucks as assets to lure in tourists rightly fascinated by big cats…….

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Nairobi National Park is a birder’s mecca, with wetland & savannah & forest species to be found within it’s humanless borders. These are our only sp. of sandgrouse – the yellow throated, common on the Athi/Kapiti plains….

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The wildebeest are back. Nearly a thousand of them are in the park right now.

There were once an estimated 100,000 of this species in our ecosystem.

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The park does not look like this anymore……all the grass (too much of it for many years) is but a memory. The drought, cattle invasion & the forcing of all the wild herbivores into the park from the rapidly humanising plains outside Nairobi mean that the grasslands of the park are now ‘short grass plains’ & likely to remain so with grazing pressure from resident grazers & illegal cattle which KWS are unable or unwilling to control.

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Athi River & Kitengela are 2 of the fastest growing urban/industrial centres in Kenya & they are immediately adjacent to the park & it’s dispersal area, an area of quarries, fences, piecemeal buiding & people hungry for meat…..

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Paradoxically there are still hundreds of gazelles in the Sheep & Goat Area next to Kitengela township. They should move into the park now that it is suitable short grass habitat.

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Thre are currently 3,000 + zebra in the park. Notice Kitengela town on the horizon.

Our remaining wildlife is rapidly becoming confined to the park area itself & it behoves KWS to take their management responsibilities in this time of very rapid change much more seriously .

 

Waiting…..waiting for Rain…..

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Nairobi National Park is a haven for antelopes, such as these oribi, translocated in from agricultural land in western Kenya. I saw 3 today:these shy creatures can more easily be seen now that there is so little vegetation in the park…

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The resident herbivores are finding it difficult in the dry, hot conditions prevailing; but not Grantis (you can see why they is called “oloibor siadi” -the ‘white behind’ in the Maasai language!) , which are very well adapted to living on the hot dessicated savannah.They can exist perfectly well without water.

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The beestes are back! Almost miraculously some 1,000 of these (in our ecosystem) increasingly rare grazers have found their way back into the park. Precise numbers will be communicated in the next post as a count took place last sunday, but no details available from KWS, yet.

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The gnu look good considering illegal cattle grazing has turned the entire park into short-grass plains habitat,with very little ‘short grass’. The black mob on the horizon are the herd seen in the pic above….talk about a blasted heath!

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Kongoni -in decline nearly everywhere from grazing competition with cattle -are now having to contend with cattle competition in their”protected” haven in the Park.

As always in a drought, the old & the weak are in poor condition; let’s hope they get through this period (there are many young at heel) as this population of Coke’s hartebeest, which is critical in terms of the Athi Kapiti ecosystem.

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The water holes are drying up…..

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Another rare denizen of the park: a bush duiker -no doubt only visible because of the paucity of vegetation…..

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Thirsty gnu….

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Even giraffe -supremely adapted to life on the African plain- are getting hungry & wandering far & wide in search of browse -including to my garden in the Silole Sanctuary. In the Langata Forest some of their favourite food shrubs – Rus natalensis –has died owing to drought. We can only hope that the rain arrives on schedule mid-October……..