Faru Team Burra Update: 01 February 2010

Faru Team Burra Update: 01 February 2010

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PARTICIPANTS

Henry Lekochere- Team Leader John Malonza Pilias Lekeele Samuel Masaku Rajab Fundi

AREAS COVERED

During the month of February the Burra Team patrolled the following areas: Ngutuni ranch, Mwatate sisal, Sagalla ranch and Mbulia ranch.

Total Snares Collected- 335

FINDINGS

During the course of the month a total of three hundred and thirty five snares were lifted in all the areas patrolled. One hundred and forty two snares were targeting big game and one hundred and ninety three snares were designed to trap smaller game. One Dikdik was rescued alive from a snare at Mbulia Ranch. A poacher’s hideout was also found in the same area. The team found the remains of a lesser kudu as well as a poached elephant at Sagalla Ranch whose tusks were missing.

OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE

With the New Year rolling in there are sings of a difficult year ahead. The Team saw plenty of evidence of poaching; even elephant poaching is on the rise. With Tanzania & Zambia having applied to CITES to lift the ban on Ivory Trade in order to sell their Ivory Stockpiles there is mounting pressure on all those involved in Anti-poaching efforts to step up and protect the remaining elephants. In March 2010 at Doha in the Middle East, a conference will be held by signatories to the CITES Convention which will seal the ultimate fate of Elephants in Africa. If this lift is authorized, this will increase the demand for illegal ivory in Kenya. The Team hopes that this will not be approved; otherwise there will be a serious increase in elephant poaching which could have disastrous results in the long-term.

In general poaching activity is currently very rampant, especially in the community land. Although the communities living around the Tsavo East National Park have received plenty of rainfall, and as a result food production has been sufficient, there is still many who continue to poach as a sideline income or as a main source of income.

NGUTUNI RANCH

This Ranch borders the Park, and is an important migratory route and buffer zone for wildlife in Tsavo. A total of 29 snares were lifted, all of which targeted big game such as buffalo.

Livestock grazing, logging and charcoal burning is another major problem taking place in this ranch.

MWATATE SISAL ESTATE

Mwatate Sisal Estate is always a poaching hotspot; the team lifted 154 snares of various sizes. The Farm houses many people who work on the Sisal Plantation as well as people who rear livestock on the Estate. Wildlife living in this area has been heavily targeted by the surrounding communities as well as staff living on the Estate. Wild animals like the Lesser Kudu, Dikdik and Bushbuck are the main targets by poachers using snaring methods. Regular desnaring patrols need to be carried out in this area; the Team visits this Estate nearly every month.

SAGALLA RANCH

Sagalla Ranch was intensely patrolled for five days. Poaching activity is still consistent here; a total of 75 snares were lifted and the remains of a lesser kudu were found being dried on top of a tree.

The team also found a poached elephant carcass with its tusks missing. The poachers attempted to cover the carcass using bushy branches. The carcass was approximately two weeks old and the poachers used poisoned arrows to kill the elephant.
Logging and charcoal burning was another major problem taking place here.

MBULIA RANCH

Mbulia Ranch lies between the Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park which makes it a very important animal migratory corridor. The team found a newly used poacher’s hideout located near a waterhole with evidence of three individuals living there, only having left very early in the morning.

The Team tracked the poacher’s footprints for several hours and soon realized the poachers were moving camp into Tsavo West National Park. The Team believes these poachers were armed with poisoned arrows, mainly targeting big game like elephants and rhinos. The Team needs to make arrangements to search for these poachers with armed Rangers. A total of 80 were lifted during patrols targeting both big and small game.
A Dikdik was rescued alive from a snare which was freshly laid, after ensuring the Dikdik was unharmed, the Team released it back into the wild.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

On the 2nd of February a large event was organized for the communities living around the National Park. The Team as well as KWS attended to the event which celebrated the World Wetlands Day. The event took place near the Sagalla area and had a good attendance from the communities. Activities included tree planting, dancing, and educational lectures. The Lectures involved raising awareness regarding environmental education issues such as being conscious of ones environment by acting responsibility to natural resources such as trees & water. The negative affects of deforestation and Charcoal burning were highlighted as well as discussions regarding dumping of domestic waste and other toxic chemicals into wetlands. These kinds of events really assist in making a difference in peoples attitudes towards their environment, a lot of mistreatment stems from illiteracy and lack of knowledge.

The Team organized two ecological field trips to Tsavo East National Park. The two schools which benefited the field trips were Marasi Primary School and Gimba Primary School. Both the schools were very happy to visit some main attraction features like the Aruba dam and Mudanda rock, as well as the Elephant Orphans raised by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Gimba Primary School was paid a visit by a Donor who came to see the contribution the desks and sports equipments which had been donated some time back had on the School.

The Donor then joined the Team and the children on a whole days School Trip into the Park. During game drives many wild animals were seen such as herds of elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras and antelopes.
Both schools also visited the Voi Orphanage and the Students got a once in a lifetime chance to interact with the baby elephants and feed them their milk.
They were given a lecture about elephant behaviour by the Keepers which the student always find most fascinating.
Both the schools thoroughly enjoyed their day put and deeply appreciated the opportunity gin to them. They both had high hopes for another field trip in future.

Report by Henry Lekochere