Faru Team Burra Update: 01 March 2010

Faru Team Burra Update: 01 March 2010

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PARTICIPANTS

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

AREAS COVERED

During the month of March the Burra Team patrolled the following areas: Lualenyi ranch, Sagalla ranch, and Mgeno ranch.

Total Snares Collected- 109 Arrests: One poacher

FINDINGS

During the course of the month a total of one hundred and nine snares were lifted in all areas patrolled. Out of these, ninety two snares were large cable snares targeting game such as buffalo, giraffe, and eland; and seventeen snares were small targeting game such as dikdik and other antelopes. The carcass of a snared domestic cow was found at Lualenyi ranch; this not being a targeted animal, but as snares are not target specific they capture & kill many other unwanted animals. The team arrested one poacher at Sagalla ranch, the man was in possession of game meat. He was part of a gang of 3 poachers, unfortunately his two associates’ evaded arrest during the chase. The Team assisted in rescuing a 1 ½ month old orphaned elephant at Mgeno ranch. The calf was picked up by the David Sheldrick wildlife Trust rescue team at Voi airstrip and flown to the Nairobi Nursery to be hand raised and re-introduced into the wild in several years. The DSWT Staff named the young female calf Sities and so far she is doing well.

OBSERVABLE EVIDENCE

This month has seen a slight decrease in snaring activity in comparison to the last 3 months. This pattern is not attributed to a general decrease in poaching; instead poachers have simply switched to adopting different poaching methods. As such poaching remains high, with the popular method being operating during the night and using lamping techniques. During the day time, they spent their time attending to their farms. This emerging pattern is worrying and the Team needs to adjust its tactics to tackle these illegal activities.

LUALENYI RANCH

On the 2nd of March, the Team received information from a regular informant regarding snaring activity is taking place in the Ranch. The remains of a snared domestic cow carcass were found, the meat had been stripped from the animal leaving only the head and skin. The poachers in this area don’t target domestic cows however due to the nature of snares and how they work they trap & kill any animal unfortunate enough to pass by.

The killing of domestic livestock is taken seriously by those rearing them & making a living off them. Hence the Team is welcomed and assisted by Herdsmen in the area. A buffalo carcass was also found, and is believed to have died of natural circumstances.
The team lifted fifty three big snares during its patrols.
Charcaol Burning & Logging was also taking place in the Ranch.
SAGALLA RANCH

Sagalla ranch was patrolled for four consecutive days. The Management fully supports the Teams efforts and has been tremendously forthcoming in joining forces with the Burra Team in order to eliminate poaching and charcoal burning which is very rampant in the Ranch. They have been struggling to implement any anti-poaching initiatives due to lack of resources & funds. The Team patrolled in conjunction with the Ranch Security Team and managed to arrest one poacher in his hideout who was in possession of 3 kgs of game meat.

Unfortunately his accomplices succeeded to escape. Two bicycles along with other poaching equipment belonging to the escapees were confiscated and taken to the ranch office. The arrested poacher was handed over to Voi police. During patrols thirty three big snares and seventeen small ones were lifted. A large amount of charocal sacs were found & recovered by the Team. These were all going to be sold on the main Mombasa - Nairobi highway. This illegal charcoal trade is unsustainable and requires heavy policing.
The team will continue to visit this ranch next month to monitor the situation on the ground.

MGENO RANCH

On the 22nd the team received a call from the Ranch security and as informed of a tiny elephant calf being sighted early in the morning coming towards their base. The team joined the elephant keepers from the DSWT’s Voi Unit to rush over to the sight where the young orphan was seen. The rescue operation was a success as the orphan was found and captured. The calf was only about 1 ½ months old and in fairly good physical condition. The Keepers fed the baby special formula milk and prepared the calf for the journey to the Voi airstrip where it was being picked up to be airlifted to the Nairobi Nursery.

The Team believes that the baby’s mother was poached as elephant poaching in the area has dramatically increased recently. Poached elephant carcasses were found on 2 occasions in February 2010 in nearby areas. The Team joined forces with the Ranch Security Rangers to thoroughly patrol the area in search of the mother, whether dead or injured. After 3 days of intensive searching there was no sighting of her. It is possible the she escaped with poison arrow wounds or other injuries that unless found & given Veterinary attention, will sadly not survive. The team only lifted six snares and noticed that charcoal burning and logging were taking place in the Ranch.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

The team organized two educational field trips to Tsavo East National Park. The two schools taken on the field trips were Msharinyi Primary and Kalambe Primary Schools. The Msharinyi Primary school is situated between Maungu and Buchuma KWS Gates; 98% of the students come from a nomadic Community, which is notorious for carrying out illegal grazing activities consisting of hundreds of livestock in the Park, making this school a primary target to focus on the sensitization to the negative impacts humans have on their natural resources & the importance of conservation. This school has therefore become a key focal point of the Teams Community project.

Both the schools visited the main attractions in Tsavo East National Park including Lugards Falls and Aruba Dam.
The Trip also included a visit to the Voi orphanage whereby the pupils got an opportunity to feed and interact with the baby elephants as well as receive an educational talk from the Keepers who raise the orphans. This is always a special part of the trip as the Voi Unit is closed off to the public and is not on the usual Park tour. Meeting & learning about the orphans is very exciting for the students and is hugely important in helping to positively influence them when it comes to their attitudes towards wildlife & conservation.
Both the students & teachers deeply appreciated the Trip and expressed hopes of having more such excursions for other students in the School.

Report by Henry Lekochere