By Enoch Mobisa
One, two, three….twenty five we counted! I remember how difficult it was for me during my preparatory school days when I painfully counted the number of vultures lying on the ground in Maasai mara’s Siana group ranch area. Everyone suspects pesticide poisoning!
We were alerted on Friday that there has been yet another poisoning incidence in the Mara by Predator aware officers, our conservation partners on the ground. We immediately responded by driving there to witness and try establishing the possible cause of the deaths. On Sunday Morning, led by Mr. Sammy Nkoitoi, we got to the vulture massacre site and found a local police officer and Maasai Mara rangers already there. Together with these guys, we formed a team and after taking samples, we decided to gather the carcasses and destroy them. KWS Veterinary officer and the research team in Segenani joined us later on and took part in destroying the carcasses to avoid any chances of cross contamination. The samples have been taken for testing to establish the actual poison. Initially we had counted twenty one but as we set out to gather them, the local community members who were with us discovered four more, increasing the number to twenty five. A pink substance, which we suspect was used for poisoning was spilt on the ground next to the wildebeest carcass which was probably what the vultures fed on. Probably a predator may have fed on the wildebeest carcass as it was very well eaten; all the bones shattered beyond what the vultures would manage. According to the local people, it is suspected the poisoning was intended to kill the hyenas or lions that take people’s livestock. But on this occasion there was no particular conflict. It is not clear who did it.
The chief led the local youths to condemn the act and requested for support for awareness creation and education to mitigate any future poisoning. They all promised to keep monitoring the situation and incase they find any information leading to the establishment of the truth or any more deaths, they would inform us.