Water for Wildlife

Mar 17, 2011 | Categories: Warriors, Westgate Conservancy | 3 Comments

Over the past few weeks, the drought has worsened in the area.  The Ewaso Nyiro River has been dry for a while now and we’ve been digging waterholes in the dry river-bed for the wildlife.  Fortunately, the number of elephants has increased in the area and they have assisted in providing water for the other animals by digging with their tusks.  However, large areas have no water at all.  We surveyed the entire river in Westgate Community Conservancy and selected 3 strategic locations for digging holes.  We don’t have to dig too far down – just a couple of feet before clean water seeps up through the sand.  However, livestock during the day and elephants at night often push the sand into the holes and we often have to re-dig the entire hole the next day.  We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and have got everyone involved.  Sasaab Lodge has 4 holes in front of the lodge and the Westgate scouts have dug east of the lodge.  We have the entire Conservation Area covered with our holes and have had volunteers, warriors, researchers and guests all digging every day.


Jeneria and Yesalai, two Samburu warriors, dig holes for the wildlife

Chip digging

Chip Owen, our great friend and supporter of Ewaso Lions, digs a hole too!

checking tracks and picking camera

Scouts and warriors come to check the holes in the morning for tracks to see what has come to drink from them (Photo taken by the camera trap)

wild dogs

A real treat – just as we were finished digging this hole, a pack of 20 wild dogs came running down the river and started drinking from the hole we had just dug – right in front of us!

At each hole, we have set up camera traps to capture images of the animals that are coming to drink from the holes and to see how effective they are.  We have had huge success and know that these waterholes are really helping these animals.  All the predators have come to drink  -striped and spotted hyenas, leopard and jackals.  We’ve even had the endangered Grevy’s zebra, elephants daily, mongoose and loads of birds.

striped hyena

This striped hyena is a daily visitor

elephants drink

Elephants come every night!

We will keep digging and helping these animals daily.  However, we’re waiting for the rain to come and the river to start flowing again.  We can’t wait.  There are signs of rain….which is the good news!

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3 People have left comments on this post

» Dana said: { Mar 17, 2011 - 09:03:23 }

This group effort to help these animals really made my heart happy today. Amazing that the dogs showed up right after you finished digging and with you still there…shows how thirsty they were. Nice getting shots on the camera traps showing what creatures visit. Pray that you get rain soon! Course not enough to cause massive flooding!

» Stephan said: { Mar 18, 2011 - 01:03:16 }

I know that you had the rain and it’s formidable, I hope for it will rain enough to avoid you digging! the camera traps put beside the waterholes is an good idea,much animals come to drink the night, and the photos are beautiful! Which good news to have seen a Grevy’s zebra! :)