The Mara Count, 2002. The count that counts.


What do we count?

Animal species we count
We counted 23 wild and 5 domestic animal species that are active during the day.

We counted:

  • Kirk’s dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii),
  • olive baboon (Papio anubis),
  • vervet monkey (Cercopithecus pygerythrus),
  • warthog (Phacochoerus africanus),
  • Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella rufifrons thomsoni),
  • Grant’s gazelle (Gazella granti),
  • impala (Aepyceros melampus),
  • topi (Damaliscus lunatus topi),
  • Coke’s hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus cokei),
  • wildebeest or white-bearded gnu (Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus),
  • Defassa waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa),
  • Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga boehmi),
  • black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas),
  • bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis),
  • eland (Taurotragus oryx),
  • African buffalo (Syncerus caffer),
  • Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi),
  • hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius),
  • African elephant (Loxodonta africana),
  • spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta),
  • lion (Panthera leo),
  • cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and
  • the ostrich (Struthio camelus massaicus).

We also counted cattle, donkeys, dogs, and sheep/goats (called shoats).

Checking gridsquares.Our counts underestimated species active at night (for example, civet, genet), species that hide (for example, leopard) and species that inhabit dense woody vegetation (for example, bushpig, bushbuck). Our count method also missed some of the smaller animals (dik-dik, mongoose).

Other data
Animal carcasses
We also mapped the type, number and the decomposition state of wild and domestic animal carcasses.

Multiple species associations
We mapped the location of all multiple species associations (MSA’s) of wildlife. A multiple species association is a group of 2 or more species that form a group for predator protection. We consider 2 species an association if they are within 300 m of each other – animals farther apart than this are not interacting closely and do not form an MSA.

Checking vegetation.Vegetation
In the centre of each of three central sub-blocks per block, we estimated within a 2m x 2m block the percent cover of the herbaceous plants (%), the average height of the herbaceous plants (in meters) and greenness on a 20-point scale. One time per 1x1 km block, we also measured the cover, height (in meters) and color of trees and shrubs.

Burns, cultivated fields (shambas), fences
We mapped the location of all burns and record their age (recent or old). We also mapped the location and size of all shambas and fences of any type.

Water sources
We recorded the locations and type of all places that have water during the count. This included wetlands, streams, rivers, ponds, dams, tanks, towers, wells and springs.

Tsetse flies
We recorded any presence of tsetse flies within the counting vehicle.

Bomas (traditional Maasai settlements)
Each currently inhabited and abandoned boma was also mapped. At each boma, we counted the number houses and recorded the type of roof on the house (dung, grass, tin or stone).

Other infrastructure and rubbish (or trash)
In villages or towns, we counted all shops, schools, clinic, houses and other buildings. For houses, we recorded the type of roof. We also recorded all other infrastructure we saw like football fields, park gates, lodges (plus their type), airstrips. We also recorded the presence of any rubbish in each sub-block.

We also recorded the type and number of all vehicles we saw. We counted the number of passengers per vehicle.

Areas we do not sample
We excluded from the count all areas with dense trees or shrub and mapped these areas during the count.


Copyright © Mara Count 2002. All rights reserved.
Maps, graphics and unpublished reports from this website may be reproduced for non-commercial use provided that such reproduction shall acknowledge the Mara count 2002 with this citation:
"Reid, R.S., Rainy, M., Ogutu, J., Kruska, R.L., McCartney, M., Nyabenge, M., Kimani, K., Kshatriya, M., Worden, J., Ng'ang'a, L., Owuor, J., Kinoti, J., Njuguna, E., Wilson, C.J., and Lamprey, R. (2003). People, Wildlife and Livestock in the Mara Ecosystem: the Mara Count 2002. Report, Mara Count 2002, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya."
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