Mathew Kiura – team leader
2 KWS Rangers
Area of operation:
During the month of August, the Burra team concentrated its de-snaring operations in the following areas:
the Sala hill and its environs, Kulalu ranch, the Ndii area, Irima, Mbulia group ranch, and Ngutuni. Our operations involved both foot and vehicle patrols and dawn and dusk ambushes
310 SNARES RECOVERED
A total of 310 snares were lifted during the course of the month, 33 of which targeted large game such a zebras and buffaloes,
3 targeting medium sized game like gazelles, and 268 targeting small game.
The snares collected also included 6 stringed snares that target birds. Two men were arrested at Sala Hill and charged with bringing livestock into the park to graze.
Due to the dry conditions in the Tsavo ecosystem, we have noticed a major migration of animals that do not tolerate dry and hot weather conditions, to areas that are currently more abundant in water and forage. A lot of grazers were seen in the Ndii area as well as in Irima and Ngutuni. Together with the increase of wildlife in these areas there was also the increase in the number of poachers. The Burra de-snaring team therefore concentrated its de-snaring efforts in these areas with the goal of lifting snares, deterring poachers and arresting anyone involved in illegal activities.
Sala Hill and its environs:
The poaching activities in this area were minimal.
We came across several abandoned poacher’s hideouts with traces of fire, and other poaching evidence such as used alkaline batteries,
animal bones with cut marks and meat drying lines. Apart from the poachers’ hideouts, we realized that illegal grazing was also being carried out in this area.
We were able to arrest two men who were found grazing hundreds of herds of cattle in the park.
We found this area to be very dry and the only wildlife that we saw were animals that have adapted to dry and hot conditions.
There were no poaching activities in this area. However we found that there was a lot of charcoal burning taking place which leads to the destruction of vegetation and in the long run to desertification.
This area was also very dry and had few animals in it.
The poaching activities reported in this area were mainly snaring and lamping. Several things caught our attention such as the carcass of a snared Dikdik,
the presence of blood in various locations which shows that lamping is definitely taking place in the Ndii area.
We also came across firewood collection, illegal grazing and the vandalism of the pipeline.
There were numerous footprints in the area that went in circles and eventually led to blood spill sites. The Burra team set up camp for several days and conducted foot patrols as well as dawn and dusk ambushes. Unfortunately no arrests were made. We did however find out that during the holidays parents have been sending the children into the park with the cattle, as they can not be arrested.
The poaching activity noticed in Irima is mainly snaring. In this are we found a snared cheetah,
and the carcass of a snared side stripped jackal.
We also came across a heap of wire, used to make small snares that had been in a bush.
At Mbulia ranch we found that there was a great deal of vegetation destruction, via charcoal burning, as well as snaring taking place.
The main problem at Ngutuni was the snaring of small and large game as well as the snaring of birds. The team recovered a blood stained sack that is suspected to have been used by a poacher to ferry meat from the bush to the surrounding community areas.
At the Ndara plain which is a stones throw away from Ngutuni, we came across charcoal burning, the destruction of vegetation and the introduction of livestock into the park.
There were about one hundred head of goats and cows that were grazing inside the park and very little wildlife as this area has undergone massive range retrogression.
The month’s community activities took place at the beginning of the month. The Ziwani and Burra team worked together to train the Kasingau community Scouts about bushmeat operations. The training course took place over five days with two days dedicated to theory and 3 days in the field undertaking de-snaring activities.
During the field work 90 snares were recovered, compromising of 52 small snares, 10 big snares and 28 bird snares.
Ten spikes were also recovered. The training exercise was very successful and the scouts learned important skills that will enable them to effectively carry out their de-snaring operations.
Report by Mathew Kiura