bettel

Mara cheetahs

286 posts in this topic

I have just spent almost full 9 days (from sunrise to sunset) with 4 cheetah families: Imani, Naborr, Musiara and Nolari. We saw a lot: 6 kills, one was stolen by a hyena, one time a cheetah was able to chase a hyena away, cubs chasing a warthog and then being chased by warthog back :), cubs chasing jackals/foxes/rabit, a lot of play and tree climbing time, close to 30 hunting attempts, cheetahs chased by a giraffe, and much much more. It was an unbelievable experience to learn individuality of each of these cheetahs.

 

~ @@bettel

 

Thank you so much for this excellent update from the field!

Cheetahs chased by a giraffe, no less!

Your nine full days are the very ‘stuff of dreams’.

Such an extraordinary cheetah experience in Kenya is the best news!

Knowing your passion for wildlife, and your consummate photography skills, I'm sure that you've been fully occupied.

We're so glad for you, thinking of you enjoying your long-awaited safari.

Thank you for telling us!

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

We will be @ OffBeat Mara in June....may be a good time to see some 4-5 month old cheetah cubs....hopefully everything works to for Amani....can't wait.

Edited by SSF556
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Posted (edited)

@@bettel

There is some TR off it, right? :)

Edited by Antee
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Have you heard about new (well, couple years old) cheetah project in Mara. It calls "Cheetah for Ever". It has a little bit different goal than other projects. They are fighting to increase the survival rate for cheetah cubs.

 

Their site: http://www.cheetahforever.org/english-1/what-we-do/on-the-ground/

 

"The Cheetah For Ever program is an original project within the limits of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It aims at reducing the mortality rate of the Cheetah cubs during the key moment following their births and till they are 5 or 6 months old when they can more easily escape countless dangers and countless predators."

 

They stay with cheetahs with small cubs and protect them from humans (e.g. tourists) and even predator:

 

"The vehicle of the monitoring teams can be used to defend the cheetahs or to fend off potential predators or poachers. Sometimes, these sworn in agents can leave the vehicle as the mere human figure is enough to frighten and cause to run away even the most powerful felines."

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@@bettel Interesting initiative but I was a bit surprised to hear they plan to chase off predators. Is this not iterfering with the natural order of the wild?

 

I thought the Mara policy was to put right man made problems only. Has there been a change?

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Posted (edited)

I thought the Mara policy was to put right man made problems only. Has there been a change?

Well, I can't answer this question as unfortunately I am not part of the project :). However taking into account that they (not this project :) but people in general ) treated a Marsh lioness that got injured hunting buffaloes in Mara, everything is possible.

Edited by bettel

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There is quite a lot of interference in the Mara - they not only treat injured lions, but when I was there in June and part of the Rekero pride youngsters got stranded the rangers shot a topi for them to feed them. I thought it was a bit strange.

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Really @@cheetah80 ? That is extraordinary or perhaps it is the new normality there.

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Posted (edited)

@@wilddog - the guides we were with didn't seem too surprised, and when we questioned them they said that "it happens". The young lions were in bad condition - you could clearly see their ribs and hip-bones sticking out.

 

I also recall that when a pack of Mara wild dogs somehow made it to the Serengeti they were darted and returned back to the Mara - to me that is really shocking considering that darting animals might endanger their lives. But this is second hand knowledge that I haven't personally witnessed - so perhaps someone else can shed light on that. I believe one source I heard this from was @@AKChui 's report

Edited by cheetah80

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I wonder if @@armchair bushman can advise/elucidate on current rules/attitudes etc?

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Wow - a third cheetah project ....... I wish they operated in a new area though where there isn't any monitoring (outside the conservancies and into Maasailand), perhaps?

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@@madaboutcheetah, I am not sure if they monitor outside of the reserve or not.

 

But what I noticed is their car is the one I could see with cheetahs a lot. During my stay in September and in February I could constantly see them with cheetahs. And in a lot of cases they had a ranger in the car. I think it is a good practice.

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Posted (edited)

Mara seems like a weird place at the moment. There is basically more wildlife in a Zoo than whats going on in Mara at the moment.

* Professional guides who chase away predators with their cars and on foot.

* Rangers who shoot animals for others to feed on.

* Darting animals now and then so they can be att the exact point that humans want.

* Protecting cubs from predators by scaring them off

And so on and so on...

Something is definetely out of control over there. Too many people in too little space.
Of course something should be done.

Close 75% av all the camps is a good beginning.

Mara don´t need another Cheetah project who even more affect the "wildlife". Mara needs less people doing exactly this.

Edited by Antee
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Posted (edited)

Close 75% av all the camps is a good beginning.

 

Well, less camps mean less jobs. Less jobs mean all these people will go back to herding/farming and thus instead of seeing benefit of wildlife will fight wildlife. A lot of animals will be killed.

Less tourist means less profit for Mara, less profit means less management. It will mean more poaching, and even the potential reduction of acreage. A lot of animals will be killed.

Edited by bettel

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Posted (edited)

 

Close 75% av all the camps is a good beginning.

 

Well, less camps mean less jobs. Less jobs mean all these people will go back to herding/farming and thus instead of seeing benefit of wildlife will fight wildlife. A lot of animals will be killed.

Less tourist means less profit for Mara, less profit means less management. It will mean more poaching, and even the potential reduction of acreage. A lot of animals will be killed.

 

If so... let´s put down the number 50% and close down Cheetah projects. Or at least spread them out to other areas outside the park. Otherwise this will not help anyone. Mara don´t need another car beside a cheetah 24 hours.

 

Mara will still have more than enough lodges and people. Current amount is not sustainable, everyone understand that.

 

You only have to read reports from Mara.

 

The horrible behavior that emerges in the park among both guides and customers.

And now even the rangers contributing to this unfortunate culture.

 

Cars by the hundreds at river crossings which causing catastrophe for animals more than once.

 

Mara is a pretty sick place at the moment with everything that comes to the surface.

 

 

Edited by Antee

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Posted (edited)

If so... let´s put down the number 50% and close down Cheetah projects.

Tourism is the second large industry in Kenya and Mara is one of the main tourism attractions. It gives thousands of jobs as well as it gives money for other social projects. Even 50% reduction of camps should be compensated by other jobs and other income for government. What would be the suggestion?

 

Cheetah projects are NOT funded by Mara income as far as I know. They are private initiatives.

Edited by bettel

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Eish. Another mara cheetah project. What about all the other cheetahs in Kenya? I can't help feeling that certain researchers/conservationists/opportunists just can't help being lured by "sexy" species in a "sexy" location.

Masai Mara National Reserve does not need another cheetah project. The two that are there already can't work together.

 

@@wilddog The line about them getting out of their car to scare off predators is a bit weird.

In general, when it comes to the authorities (KWS), interference with the natural order is generally considered acceptable in extenuating circumstances with regards to endangered species (like cheetah). I'm talking about darting a cheetah to treat it for mange, fix a broken leg, etc. Stopping predation by lions INSIDE a National Reserve seems a bit daft to me. If you're worried about the survival of cheetahs, deal with the bigger problems at hand. Predation by lions is natural and has always happened. The shrinking of cheetah habitat is NOT natural and is causing cheetahs to be confined to lion territories. So if you want to reduce the number of cheetah cubs being killed by lions, start by creating more space for cheetahs so they can spread out and have less interaction with lions.

 

If all the animal rights groups, animal welfare groups, and overseas conservation NGO's just put their money towards Payments for Ecosystem Services in order to create more space for wildlife, we wouldn't have to have these 1-2 man "projects" driving around in donated vehicles, on salaries from donations, taking photos of predators and "living the life" on other people's money.

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Posted (edited)

@@armchair bushman

Totally agree with you.

Right now customers, guides and rangers start chasing away different species (probably the ones that they don´t like) with both cars and on foot.

 

And all think they are doing a good deed when in fact it is just the opposite.
This have obviously got out of control in Mara and for me this is not a nationalpark anymore. It´s more like a playground for ignorant people.

The problem for the Cheetah is of course space. Not the Lion, not the Hyena and not failed huntings...

People should do something about the real problem, which is all man-made instead of interfering in the course of nature and start, once again, another Cheetah project... with another car in the back of the Cheetah.

It´s quite funny that rangers gives food to starving Lions so they survive even though they should not.
Then comes the guides or Cheetah project who chase away Lions because they are too many for the Cheetah´s...
Incredibly stupid all in all.


@@bettel

If it continues like this there will be no more jobs at all in Mara. You need to have sustainable amount of people in the park.
You need guides and rangers who behave like they care about the wildlife and not interrupt it.

What is your answer to this problem in the park?
And what to do about the very strange behavior from customers, guides and park rangers?

Edited by Antee
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What a load of utter kak: http://www.cheetahforever.org/english-1/what-we-do/why/

"It is ranked as "vulnerable" on the IUCN red list of threatened species, that is to say critically endangered. The scientists who are specialists of this feline go even further and rank it first, way before the symbolic Polar Bear on its dwindling ice field, in their list of great mammals which could disappear in the coming decades unless there is a spectacular change in the situation."

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Thanks @@armchair bushman So effectively if the animal is an endangered species it is now permitted to intervene whether the problem is man made or not?

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Thanks @@armchair bushman So effectively if the animal is an endangered species it is now permitted to intervene whether the problem is man made or not?

Eh..... as I understand it, it's a bit of a grey area. Human-induced issues caused to endangered species are less "grey areas". If a vehicle hits a cheetah, or a cheetah is shot with an arrow (and survives), yes, the KWS vets will intervene.

Mange is transmittable and can affect a cheetah's health enough that they're no longer fit to hunt or feed their cubs, so in that case, often they'll intervene. A single male with a broken leg? maybe not. A mother with cubs that need food with a broken leg? Possibly. I'm not part of the decision making process, I'm just going off of what I see, read, hear, and my own logic.

 

If a Thomson's Gazelle has a broken leg, leave it.

 

What bothers me about the quote I inserted in my last post is that what they're essentially saying is: "IUCN has listed Cheetahs as "Vulnerable" (the 3rd ranking on the IUCN Red List), but we interpret that to mean that they're Critically Endangered (the last ranking before "extinct") just because we think they are cute, iconic animals. So because we say they're "Critically Endangered", in all our unscientifically supported wisdom, we think that gives us license to be here and behave in the best way we see fit without any supervision.

And I love how they talk about "the scientists who are specialists of this feline" in the third person - basically, "we're not the specialists, but this is what the specialists say". If you're not the specialists, what the hell are you doing there pretending you are??

 

Sorry, I tend to get a little riled up about this sort of thing. Their website is full of inaccuracies, grammatical errors, flowery language with no substance, and a general sense that these guys have no idea what they're actually doing, but "they love cheetahs, so that's the most important thing".

 

I would say, "rant over", but I can't guarantee that it is. The more I look at their website, the more flabbergasted and upset I become.

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I totally agree with your views on the endangered/critical issue @@armchair bushman and who are these 'scientists' they mention. Have the published the data? or is it opinion based views only.

 

I wonder if they will be offering volunteering (paid) opportunities to join them as they 'protect' the cheetahs and deter any wildlife that threatens them?

 

'Grey areas' are always a bit worrying; Thin end of the wedge for me.

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Posted (edited)

Well that's exactly the problem, @@wilddog, they don't mention who the scientists are or where they get their information. They just use a bunch of emotive (yet grammatically woeful) language to get support from well-meaning potential donors overseas who don't know any better.

Edited by armchair bushman
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Posted (edited)

If it continues like this there will be no more jobs at all in Mara. You need to have sustainable amount of people in the park.

Could you please open your answer, why there will be no more jobs in the park?

 

My answer to problems is to help people that try to do at least something :) rather than only discussing it on the internet. I mean it is always very easy to say "Whatever all those people doing is not right", but I respect that they try to do at least something. Conservancies are growing (new areas are developing, it seems to be a quite positive establishment), Masai people seem to slowly change their mentality, conservationists are fighting for bringing down fences near Mara to allow herds to move better.

 

I would also suggest to close Mara for self driving and to make all guides to have a license (I am talking about those herds of buses) and give couple years of transition period.

 

I don't see a big problem with interfering to help cheetahs in Mara.

 

There are 30,000 lions in the world, there are even more spotted hyenas and leopards, there are less than 10,000 cheetahs. Whole Mara ecosystem including all conservancies has only about 30 adult cheetahs. Cheetahs in Mara are disappearing. And somebody can say "Oh,well, but there are still cheetahs in other places", but i think it is a good idea to try to help him here.

 

Thanks God, people are not shooting lions or hyenas to help cheetahs :), if lions will be chased away not to kill cubs (I mean project is not ALWAYS there to help) there is no harm for lions :).

 

But to close 50% of camps is definitely not a short term solution.

Edited by bettel

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