Monday, April 11, 2011

Porini Amboseli Camp Game Report - March 2011

Porini Amboseli Camp, Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya

March 2011 Wildlife Report

This month we experienced light rains that seem to be getting heavier. In April, we do foresee signs of heavy rains to come. Generally, all the animals in the conservancy are doing very well. There is plenty of feed for the grazing ones and enough prey for the predators. The conservancy has plenty of green grass for the plains game and foliage for the browsing ones like giraffes, gerenuks, etc.

The lesser Kudus are doing very well. With the thick bushes, they are well protected and scattered groups can be seen with their young ones. This is a success story for the conservancy as these Kudus are only found here, within the entire greater Amboseli eco-system. Other Antelopes, including the Thompson and Grant’s gazelles as well as the Wildebeests are in good health. They are strong and doing very well.

These browsing species have some great advantage since March 2011. With all the trees and shrubs having developed new foliage, they are now able to feed ad-libitum. The gerenuks don’t need to stand on their hind legs to reach higher leaves as there is plenty of drooping foliage for them. Giraffes have young ones with nicely coloured coats. These two species can each be found in good groups of ten and over.

On 6th March, during an early morning game drive in the conservancy with some clients, we found a female cheetah next to the Airstrip. The area is generally flat and open, with short grass making a good habitat for the gazelle & a preferable hunting ground for this spotted hunter. The cheetah was seen lying down amidst the tall grass and seemed to be in hunting mood as she lifted her head and scanned the area around. She did this several times for a good 20 min before we moved ahead.

The cheetah was continuously spotted here through the month. With the number of gazelles in
the area, the cheetah is quite at home in the conservancy and has not left. We are also on the look out for the two males(brothers), who tend to around the area; Probably, searching for families to establish their families.

The one collard lion that killed a giraffe last month is quite nomadic. He has moved far away and
has not been spotted since.. However, two other males have established their territory close to the camp. They are an ever present sighting on game drives.

There is a Serval cat that seems to be pacing along the route to the bush dinner sight. Daily sightings of it in the recent past made us wonder why but we realized that she had had kittens and needed to hunt mice and birds for her young ones. Unfortunately it was not easy to spot her kittens in the tall grasslands. Other nocturnal cats like genets, White tailed mongoose & bushbabies can be spotted during night game drives.

There is a hive of activity with weaver birds weaving their nests in preparation for this breeding season which coincides with the rain. Some migratory birds from the Perliarctic region have not gone back to Europe as they have been captivated by the proliferation of insects after the intermittent rains.

Birds of prey like the Pale Chanting Goshawks, Black shouldered Kite, African Hawk Eagle, tawny Eagle and the Brown snake Eagle are vigilant hunters and are spotted in the tree tops - their vantage point to scan the ground below to identify their prey.

In Amboseli, we came across a scuffle between a Bateluer and Tawny eagles, scrambling for some meat. The tawny, being more aggressive at kills, had the upper hand and was able to displace the Bateleur. It was very interesting to see a Fish eagle kill an Egyptian goose to our utter amazement.

With the availability of water all over, including the seasonal river Selenkay, there are many
elephants that migrated from the Amboseli park to the Conservancy. There range from individual to pairs of nomadic bulls to small groups of females with their young ones. The route from the “Maji ya Simba pond” to Oloturo swamp has been rendered almost impassable by the elephants heavy weights making deep holes of foot prints when they walk through during wet days. Eventually, the path dries up with gaping holes. It is obvious that the elephants are at home here.

These small but very important species in the Amboseli Eco-system are busy cutting and rolling
dung. The elephants are eating the soft grass in the conservancy and their dung is not as fibrous as usual.

Photos courtesy Porini Camps/Gamewatchers Safaris

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