Game Counts

ACK Mary's picture
Sat, 2012-12-22 14:06 by ACK Mary · Forum/category:
Kima Burn

Deanna and Mandela solicited assistance in the driving game counts from cheetah scouts and returning volunteer Peter Barber in September and October while Cosmas and I were in the US. The area hadnot received rain since we left, so the vegetation was dry and brown and many game species had moved away. With the level of settlement since the Aimi and Malili ranch subdivisions, we documented a decline in cheetah prey on all ranches. A surprising species change is the decline of hare (Lepus sp) by more than 50% between 2008 and 2010. The dikdik population also showed a decline of near 40% in 2010 from the 2008 counts. Now that the Kiu ranch has also begun subdivision, we expect to see a marked decline again for the 2012 counts.

The number of predators captured on the camera traps tells us that they are still finding something to eat. Despite the influx of people and livestock, predator conflicts have not increased in 2012. It is impossible for us to know if all of the predator population has declined, but our documentaion shows that cheetah numbers have not exceeded 10 since 2009. The highest estimate we had for cheetahs in the area was 30 in February 2008.

Interestingly, a marked increase in animals was noted after the fire in Kima and Stanley - we are nor sure if they have just come out of hiding with the loss of bush after the fire, or if they specifically came in for the new sprouts in the burned areas.

Cosmas and I returned in time to conduct the November counts with Deanna. Rains have come off and on, enough to fill our water tank, and to give fresh grass and leaves to the game and livestock. We hope this trend continues into the new year.