PARTICIPANTS Henry Lekochere- Team Leader John Malonza Pilias Lekeele Samuel Masaku Rajab Fundi 2 KWS Rangers AREAS COVERED During the month of June the Burra Team patrolled the following areas: Mwatate Sisal Estate, Sagalla Ranch, Dakota ranch and Lualenyi ranch. Total Snares Collected- 196 2 poachers arrested FINDINGS During the June patrols, 196 snares were collected in all the areas covered. Out of the total snares collected, 128 snares were targeting smaller game and 68 snares were designed to capture big game. Two dikdik and two bat eared fox carcasses were found snared at Sagalla ranch. The team also managed to arrest two poachers at Sagalla and Dakota ranches respectively. OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE Many of the areas patrolled revealed new and fresh snaring activities. The months finding showed an increased number of snares collected compared to that of the last two months. This can be attributed to several reasons, many of which are interconnected. The most obvious reason is as a result of the drought, with many poachers not returning to their farms after becoming reliant on poaching during the drought. Hence even though the rains arrived, few poachers returned to their previous occupations. Poverty is a major contributor to increased poaching. Poverty closely ties in with high levels of unemployment, illiteracy, misuse of natural resources and poor availability of governmental services such as education, electricity, water and other infrastructure. A high demand for ivory and other wildlife products has been another major cause of the increased poaching witnessed. Mwatate Sisal Estate The Team started the month’s patrols in Mwatate sisal estate. The land on this estate is used for sisal cultivation, livestock farming, and has several hundreds people who work and live on the estate. The property neighbors community land on both sides. With the area being highly populated, the wildlife residing in this region has fallen victim to high levels of snaring. The Team lifted 19 medium snares which were freshly laid.
Sagalla ranch Sagalla ranch dominated the months snare collection, 155 snares were retrieved.
Two dikdik and two bat eared fox carcasses were found snared.
The team also came across a lesser kudu carcass which is believed to be killed by predation. The team managed to arrest one poacher who was in possession of game meat and poaching equipment; the man was booked at Voi police station.
Dakota Ranch This ranch borders Tsavo East National Park and is a crucial animal migratory corridor from the Tsavo East Park to Shimba Hills National Park which lies closer to the coast of Kenya. The community living there is notorious for poaching and charcoal burning.
Illegal logging and charcoal burning is a prevalent occurrence that is threatening to decimate the vegetation here if not addressed. The team managed to arrest one poacher who was in possession of game meat and four snares; he was booked at Mackinon Road police station.
Lualenyi ranch Livestock grazing in this area has somewhat contributed toward reducing snaring activity since livestock are often snared. As a result herdsmen report and remove some snares if they happen to see them. The team managed to retrieve 18 large snares which were set to trap big mammals like the elephants, buffaloes and giraffes.
The Team assisted the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mobile Vet Unit to treat a bull elephant with a severe snare wound on its left foreleg. It is hope that in time the bull will make a full recovery.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH On the 2nd of June, the team donated 30 desks to Mwandisha primary school which is situated at Mwatate sisal estate. The school committee was present and extremely appreciative as the desks were desperately needed.
The school has been flooded with new students following the government decision to make primary education free.
On the 5th day of the month, the team together with KWS, Voi District administration, Voi Municipal Council, schools and community living around the Tsavo East National Park celebrated the World Environment Day at Voi primary school whereby tree planting and cleanup of Voi town were jointly done. Thanking the participants, the organizers to be conscious of their environment by acting responsibly by not cutting trees and throwing waste which is not biodegradable, instead adopt responsible waste disposal by disposing harmful waste in designated places. Report by Henry Lekochere