Isaac Maina – Team leader Mutua Koti –Tracker Jacob Dadi –Tracker Feisal Muteti –Vehicle guard 2 KWS rangers
We started the exercise by visiting Ziwani area of Tsavo West national park on the park western bounder. Ziwani estate is a multi purpose area used for cultivation, herding and wildlife sanctuary It hosts several hundred personnel who work there and neighbours community on its three side namely, Western ,Northern and southern side. On the eastern side lies Tsavo west national park. Animals residing in this region have fallen victim to poachers through snaring. According to the information we gathered from various sources, poachers access the park through the estate and also execute their operation in this region. Some use hunting dogs to compliment wire snaring while others use spotlights and hunt at night. The grazing of livestock in the area is a blessing in disguise in some ways as the hearders often remove snares themselves to prevent their livestock from being injured. However it is becoming a concern of ours that the grazers are over grazing and it will not be long before the area is turned to dust. We collected 30 snares both in Ziwani and park side. They were all large and medium sized. Our leading tracker who had participated in previous operations in the area is very posetive since the number of snares had declined tremendously compared to the previous operation. We also found buffalo remains which had been slaughtered and skinned less than a kilometer from the camp. We gathered that it had been slaughtered 3 days previously by a about eight people which is suspected to be from the neighboring country. We suspect that this was done by the gangs that hunt at night. Back to our home area, the exercise was hampered by a shortage of security personnel who were attending other emergency matters. Our absence in Irima was felt by invasion of the notorious resident group. We found 24 new snares, an Impala carcass and a zebra which had been scavenged by hyenas. Not far from here there was marking on the tree indicating presence of a snare which had been removed. Again all these wire originated from the old railway telephone cable. In another operation in Mgeno and Mkuki ranch led by Tsavo research aimed at flushing illegal charcoal burning and snaring, we collected 21 snares in the single operation. Previous operation had more than 180 snares found which was done together with the local administration. The level of tree cutting is alarming especially on the river bank. If went unchecked all the tall trees will be decimated by charcoal burners. Other areas we tackled are Bachuma grazers and road reserve between Maungu and Bachuma. The total number of snares recovered was 154.
Report by Issac Maina