As the long dry season came to an end in October it brought with it added pressure on the Parks. Incidences of illegal activity were widespread and common. To help address this escalation the KWS increased their ranger force during the month allowing for 3 KWS rangers to accompany each of the DSWT’s teams on patrol, whilst they have also committed to training new rangers.
Combined, the DSWT’s anti-poaching units made 52 arrests of which 9 were bushmeat poachers, 13 charcoal burners, 11 livestock herders and an additional 17 arrests were made for logging, woodcarving, trespassing and theft. The Meru team also arrested an ivory poacher and the Ithumba team arrested a rhino horn poacher, who is currently on trial. The Chyulu and Kenze teams successfully ambushed a bushmeat camp in the Chyulu Hills National Park, recovering 200kg of poached bushmeat.
In total 479 snares of various sizes were collected from the field, the Meru team excelling in recovering snares along the park boundary; on one day alone they picked up 92 snares and destroyed a shooting platform constructed to poach elephants. Fires were also prevalent throughout the countryduring October and the Chyulu, Kenze and Meru teams were active in the fight to contain and put out bush fires which had gotten out of control, especially in the Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West and Meru National Park, where a violent fire lasted for 3 days.
A special operation was conducted during the month at the request of the KWS in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, which lies along Kenya’s northern coastline. This also came at a time when the Trust’s aircraft sighted an elephant carcass in the Forest during a patrol. The Mtito team was selected to travel to the Forest and worked alongside a KWS and Kenya Forest Service team to investigate the elephant carcass, which the teams confirmed had been poached and the tusks were missing. Whilst a follow up on the case continues, the Mtito team worked with the KWS/KFS patrolling the Forest and sharing anti-poaching techniques and uncovering further illegal activities.