After only a little rain, the devastating drought is still ravaging the greater Amboseli ecosystem. The drought is bound to completely change specialized pastoralism, the core of the Maasai’s cultural identity. It is like a wind that blows nobody good. Wildlife of all kinds despite their shapes and sizes are also susceptible to the drought. In fact, even ostriches which are considered to be extremely hardy in dry conditions are no exception.
The little showers that came to Eselenkei arrived just at the opportune time. Though not widely distributed throughout the area, the rain came as a big relief to many species. There has not been enough rain for much grass to come out, but there has definitely been a change in vegetation cover – the shrubs and trees are now becoming green. Here are some of the new Guardians on Olgulului, our neighbouring ranch – you can see how dry the ground still is here, but at least some of the trees are becoming green!
It was against this background that our Lion Guardian team came across a big ‘ostrich meeting’ attended by over a hundred of the birds. Adult males with black and white plumage, the white being restricted to the tail and the tips of the stunted wings, dictated the proceedings. With pink heads, necks and thighs and in the company of many females, the ostriches converged together in a manner suggesting a well convened meeting with a sensitive agenda on the table!
Clearly, the birds of feather wanted to discard the so called philosophy of ‘burying their heads in the sand’ and assuming everything is just fine. (Actually, I am yet to see any ostrich burying its head)! As opposed to this very wrong assumption, the ostriches in the ecosystem not only saw the devastating drought, they were experiencing it painfully.