Participants: Isaac Maina – team leader Mutua Koti - tracker Jacob Dadi - tracker Joseph - informer 2 KWS Rangers
The project covered Tsavo East’s eastern boundary and neighboring Tsavo West near Maktau. 705 snares, a bow, arrows and skins were recovered. 5 poachers were arrested in two different incidents.
Irima – Ndii, a stretch of about 15 kms along the Nairobi-Mombasa road is a notorious snaring zone. This stretch yielded 109 snares, all targeting big game. It is worth mentioning the extent of their activities. More than 75% were neatly laid, while 10% looked disorientated either by animals, which escaped the loop miraculously, or by strong wind, falling trees etc. A considerable proportion had blood clotted on, with hairs and faeces evident, signifying catches. In a similar operation carried out as a backup by KWS rangers, more than 110 snares were recovered.
A commendable gesture by a Teacher/Farmer at Kajire, whose cow was killed by a snare last month, was that he helped us to uproot 231 snares in a neighboring communal pastureland. He took us to a place where a barrier running more than a kilometer, made of bush, with snares tied at the only small passages left. This gesture portrayed the friction that exists between the poachers, and the non-poachers in the community. The non-discriminating nature of snaring costs even domestic animals their lives.
At Kishushe 2 poachers were arrested with snares, a hyena and lesser kudu skin, a roasted monkey and a dikdik. The next day, along the same area but inside Tsavo West, 3 boys were arrested, hunting with 5 dogs. They had managed to catch a hare. All three were minors, of whom two were school dropouts, while the youngest was a class 8 pupil waiting to sit exams. We released him to continue his education. A barrier extending about 2.5 kms was found inside the park, however most of the snares had been shifted to other areas.
A hyena that had managed to drag a snare from a branch was found dead. Similarly we heard of an elephant with a rotting leg, due to an embedded snare, somewhere in the area. The source of these snares was not identified despite a thorough patrol with the sanctuary scouts. With the help of an informer, whom we recruited, we managed to locate 194 snares in two days. In another area of Kishushe we saw 6 blood marks and signs indicating night poaching with tortches.