A huge container arrived by sea and lorry carrying 20 tons of Stay Tite fencing, the latest technology in Game fencing. Unfortunately, the day it arrived the seasonal rains broke and the lorry promptly got stuck in the soaked tracks on the ranch. Thanks to the never ending enthusiasm of our crew, the lorry was ‘dug’ out and able to drop the container the following day.
The next problem arose when the government, in their noble efforts to preserve our forests slammed an overnight ban on the sale of all timber in order to get the tree poaching under control. I am not sure how Don worked his magic finding bits of legal timber left here and there. The job got done despite the rains which hit us with increasing force and the crews claim they grew webbed feet.
Muthuri our talented carpenter has been building feeding stations for the bongo. While Don insisted on functionality, Muthuri begged to be allowed to add some artistic touches.
Just before Christmas, suddenly the wind changed. Strong breezes from the north east announced an early summer as the remaining clouds on the mountain were blown away.
The Ranch emerged in its most beautiful spring splendor. Wild flowering shrubs glisten in the morning dew. The abundance of birds becomes especially evident at this time as they “celebrate” in song.
Our crews only took off one day for Christmas and are now engaged to secure the forest part of what will be their first Mount Kenya forest home for the bongo after they have settled down in the initial holding area. The first priority was to erect an electric fence around the forest area to discourage other game to visit, while proper fences are erected. We were sad to have to ‘fence out’ our longtime resident herd of wild elephants.
Not so for our local bad boy elephant named ‘Detlef’ after our resident Dr. Laue who had ‘befriended’ him. Discouraged at first, he took off for a couple of days. As he realized someone was tampering with his forest he decided on action. He seems to have sent the rest of his gang packing while he embarked on his nightly attempts to defy the hot wires. Detlef timed it perfect when he finally invaded the ranch on Christmas day to teach us all a lesson about the intelligence of elephants.
While we and the fencing crew took our well deserved holiday, feasting and celebrating, Detlef worked out that where there was a gully, there was a way! He found the only spot in the 8 km intended fence line where the temporary electric wire was hastily stretched over a gully and promptly got on his knees and made it under the wire, only to cause havoc on the ‘forbidden’ side.
To make a long story short, he provided us with plenty of excitement for the next two days. Having made it thus far he was not about to leave.
A well placed tracer bullet near the pachyderm’s derriere finally did the trick. Not knowing what was up Detlef finally went for safety and crashed through the by now disabled barrier taking a fair amount of wire with him. The concerted opinion of the crew is that Detlef has learned his lesson and will treat us with more respect in the future.
Never a dull day on this Ranch, somewhere on Mount Kenya!
New Years’ arrivals
Dawn on New Years day revealed a minute new little Suni born to one of our breeding groups of this rare and shy antelope. Suni are the smallest of all the East African antelopes and as forest dwellers are normally rarely seen. They have increasingly been caught in poachers’ snares for bush meat consumption. We have established several breeding groups on the Game Ranch to insure their survival during their uncertain fate in the wild.
We named the little buck ‘Florian’, after the recent frequent visits of conservation minded young man and his like minded friends.
A little lamb-Llama arrived on Christmas day. She is unusually small, so as a precaution we moved mother and baby to the safety of the Orphanage where she joins another mother and young. The staff named her ‘Sikuku’ – – (Kiswahili for Christmas)
Our Very Special Thank You Goes To:
Jane and Julian McKeand for their very generous donation
Florian Schoeller and Franziska von le Fort for their support and successful campaign to recruit new members
All our old and new subscribers all over the world. We appreciate your efforts in attracting new members.