Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lion in the shade...

Even new cars break down

The Kenyan roads are notoriously rough on cars. Despite all the challenges we have had with the Land Rover, many have told us it's the best car for these roads. A 2004 Toyota is an old field car- a 1988 Land Rover is a spring chicken!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


An Ostrich refusing to give a Thompson's Gazelle a little bit of privacy...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Do Lions Drink From The Mara River?

These lions were drinking from a small puddle of water left behind in a safari van's wake.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rhino Sanctuary

Two of our friends, Ann and Sonkoi, are working on setting up a Rhino Sanctuary in an effort to conserve a large tract of land between Maji Moto and Ewaso Ngiro. They invited us out to visit the sanctuary and sample the unique ground water that draws wildlife onto the land from the surrounding area.

There is a large amount of salty ground water in the area. The Maasai have known for years that the ground water was special and they have brought their cattle to drink from it.

Well, we got some preliminary readings back and they seem very interesting. We sampled four seperate holes in the ground in which the ground water was within 1 meter from the surface. Our immediate results indicate that the water is indeed very salty and possibly full of minerals. Ann stated that there were tests done many years ago by the government and the tests showed that there were at least 12 different beneficial minerals in the water.

Here are two charts that show the relationship between the four sites we sampled in the Rhino Sanctuary and several of the rivers in the area.

DO% is the percentage of Dissolved Oxygen in the water.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Clawed Frogs

I think these guys are some of the more charming frogs we encounter in our sampling efforts. This guy was located in some emergent vegetation up in Kapkimolwa. We have found this species all over the Mara River Basin from the tributaries to the mainstream Mara.

He would give Kermit a run for his money in a beauty contest.

Looks like he was squashed in this picture but they just kind of lay flat. In stagnant pools, you'll often times only see their eyes just above the surface of the water.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Finally...we found one.

That's right, we found our first live muscle in the Mara River this last week. Martin, our guard for the day, actually located it.

We were on the banks of the Mara River doing our intensive macroinvertebrate sampling while Martin was watching for crocodiles and hippos. During the three hours we were there, the water dropped almost 20 centimeters. Martin caught a glimpse of the exposed muscle trying to work his way back down into the water since the quick drop in flow had left him high and dry.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Return of the Unknown Frog

Last year on June 27th, we found a small frog near the Tanzanian Gold Mine that we were never able to identify. Well, last week, we found a very similar frog, possibly the same species, here in Kenya by the New Mara Bridge.

He turned up after we did a kick-net sample in some emergent vegetation just upstream of the bridge.

Seems pretty strange that in an entire year, we have only found two of these frogs even though we've been sampling all the way up to the Mau Forest.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chicken Emergency of our baby chickens died this morning.

Then we had a crazy-busy day in Narok...running around and meeting with WWF personnel, graduate students who have limited time and funding, a drunk mechanic for the Land Rover, and organizing a trip to the Masai Mara National Reserve with some local kids that live next door.

Then we spotted four of our remaining baby chickens running around the yard who appeared to all have a large lump on their right side. We have eight babies left but only the four black ones had these lumps. We snatched one up and took off for our chicken doctor in downtown Narok. Our worst fear was that for some reason, they had all developed some strange tumor and that they would all die a horribly painful death. I guess we were a little gun-shy because of the death of one of our chickens this morning. That chicken had developed a bad virus and didn't responding to treatment then finally succombed this morning.

So...we got this little baby chicken with the tumor into our chicken doctor's hands. He laughed. Good thing that our chicken doctor knows us well or he probably thought we are crazy. He said the only thing this chicken was guilty of was over-eating.

One chicken died and the others pigged out on the remaining food.