Faru Team Burra Update: 01 December 2009

Faru Team Burra Update: 01 December 2009

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Participants

Henry Lekochere Kennedy Mungai John Malonza Samuel Masaku Rajab Fundi

Introduction The month was marked by the sad news of a mature male elephant at killed by poachers at Mgeno ranch and its tusks taken.

The most shocking thing about this tragedy is that he elephant was shot at about 3pm which shows that the poaching of elephants using guns may be creeping in again. In addition to this poaching through snaring has also increased. The decomposing carcass of another elephant was found at Mbulia ranch, its tusks however were intact, and the reason for its death could not be established. Illegal cattle grazing in the park was observed near the Ngutuni and Maugu townships.

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included Ngutuni ranch, Sagalla ranch, Mgeno ranch, Mbulia ranch and the Ndii area.

300 SNARES COLLECTED

INTRODUCTION With the onset of the heavy rains, the poaching activities are bound to change. This is due to the fact that some poachers take advantage of the rains to plant their crops and tend to their lands. Human wildlife conflict in terms of animals moving into community lands reduces as there is now enough food and water for them in the park. Vegetation becomes denser and snares are harder to see as they are covered by the new foliage.

Ngutuni Ranch This is area is located adjacent to Tsavo East National Park. Wildlife from the park usually crosses into the ranch due to the availability of water from the Mzima Springs pipeline. Poachers are taking advantage of this trend in an effort to snare the animals. The team patrolled the area and was able to lift 23 snares targeting large and medium sized game and 7 snares targeting small game.

In addition we observed that charcoal burning and illegal cattle grazing is taking place as is the stealing of steel pipes belonging to Kenya railways.
The team also came across the remains of a buffalo which we think may have been poached and the skin removed to be dried and sold at market.

Sagalla Ranch The ranch is located on the south of the Mombasa road near the Maungu Township. The ranch is about 52,000 acres and is owned through shareholding by 50 members. The vegetation in the ranch is bushy creating a good habitat for wild animals including Elands and Elephants and is an important migratory corridor for animals moving from Tsavo East to Tsavo West National Park. The team lifted a total of 131 snares from this area which is the largest number of snares.

48 of the snares targeted large and medium sized game with 83 targeting small game.
We believe that more snares may have been missed, hidden by the new growing vegetation. The team received information that two of a camel herder’s camel had become trapped in snares; he was thankfully able to free them from the traps. Other illegal activities like charcoal burning were observed and the management informed of the problem.

Mgeno Ranch This ranch borders the Taita Sisal Estate, is about 50,000 acres and is owned through shareholding by about 400 members. The vegetation is mainly bushy acacia-commiphora. From the ranch we managed to lift 26 snares over a period of two days.

In addition we received information from a cattle herder who said that he heard 5 gunshots being fired at about 3:10pm on Saturday the 19th of December. On closer inspection he found a dead elephant whose tusks had been removed. We visited the scene and confirmed his reports. A mature bull elephant had indeed been shot and its tusks missing. We followed the footprints which showed evidence of 3 men walking to and from the elephant.

Mbulia Ranch Mbulia is a group ranch which is located south of the Mombasa road and East of Tsavo West National Park. The ranch is of large and poorly managed. The vegetation is bush thorny acacia and commiphora which creates a good habitat for small game like Dikdiks. Currently the ranch ahs a lot of thick foliage due to the high grass and sprouting bushes which makes it difficult to see. During our patrols we managed to lift a total of 43 snares 5 of which targeted medium and large game with 38 targeting small game. We also came across the carcass of an elephant. This time the tusks were intact.

We removed the Tusks and surrendered them to the KWS Tsavo East head quarters.

Ndii area This area is between the Tsavo East boundary and the Mombasa-Nairobi highway. It is along corridor which has thickets of bushes and small acacia trees. Small game easily crosses from the park to this area making it a poaching hotspot. We were able to lift 70 snares targeting small game such as Dikdiks and guinea fowl.

The Trust was given a metal detector as a donation and the Desnaring team got to try and use it this month.

Report by Henry Lekochere