Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hello everyone! I am not blogging from Tanzania today but from Kenya! We made the switch on Monday, and I am loving Kenya. The camp is large and amazing. Its approximately 20 acres, contains some woody, shrubby and grassy areas, and borders a stream. Compared to the Tanzania camp, which was approximately 3 acres, it feels so much more free. We are technically fenced in (because we're in a wildlife dispersal area there is some danger of cape buffalo, elephant, etc walking in, which would be dangerous). There is so much wildlife in the fence that I've just been so happy to be able to see. There are a group of ibises which wake me up in the morning, a family of eagle-owls, bushbabies come out around 6:30, and we have to watch out for baboons and vervet monkeys. These are just the most common things seen, there are a ton of others.
Tomorrow we are leaving camp for Lake Nakuru National Park, a fenced in park that is one of the few places that have black rhinoceros. It's going to be interesting not only comparing it to Tanzania Parks in general but also not fenced in parks. We are also going to be spending Halloween in Lake Nakuru National Park. How awesome is that?
I've been thinking of water use here, how different it is from the US east coast. We had an ok rain here yesterday but it hasn't really soaked in because the soil has very poor water retention. I know I've talked about the issue of water here before but it is a really big issue. Luckily we're near Mount Kilimanjaro (I get to see Mount Kilimanjaro everyday, which is amazing) so we get some spring water. Every morning I hear a generator running in the stream just outside the fence, where someone is pumping out water to use for irrigation. Irrigation is so necessary here for agriculture that it makes agriculture unsustainable. We've had lectures out on hills and pretty much the only green areas are swamps and crop fields. Everywhere else is dry and brown. There is a reason that pastoralism is the traditional land use here, because there is not enough water for anything else. The rate of evaporation of water is about a thousand millimeters higher than the rainfall is annually. This is also why wildlife conservation has been important in this area, because nomadic pastoralism is very compatible with wildlife. However, with modernization and movements of people the economy has changed to agriculture, which overtaxes the water supply and destroys ecosystems. The Amboseli swamp, which supports the Amboseli ecosystem during the dry season, is projected to be gone in the next 15-30 years. With that gone there will be nowhere near enough water resources for the ecosystem, causing an ecosystem crash. Diversity is a big word in conservation, diversity in genetics, species, habitats, ecosystems. Diversity in land use practices is important too. Too often we use a one-size-fits-all model with economic growth, and in some areas that just does not work. Agriculture is not sustainable in semi-arid areas, and only approximately 12% of Kenya is arable land. Creativity in land use and learning from traditional land use is needed in order to come up with a solution, because just using up a diminishing resource is going to stop being a solution very quickly.


  1. HOLY CRAP!! i am sad to say i havent been reading anyones blogs. but now i have a new determination to readd them aaaalllll!! cus this is uuber aweseome!

  2. I have a correction. It's around 20%, not 12%, of Kenya that is arable.