Faru Team Burra Update: 01 October 2008

Faru Team Burra Update: 01 October 2008

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Participants:

Nicodemus Kivindyo – team leader Samuel Odero Peter Wambua John Malonza Samuel Masaku Rajab Fundi 2 KWS Rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of October, the Burra team covered the following areas: Lion Hill (inside the park), Sagala ranch, Mgeno ranch, Salt lick ranch (Taita Wildlife Sanctuary), Mbulia ranch, Ngutuni ranch and Wesstermans ranch.

177 SNARES RECOVERED

FINDINGS During the months operations the team lifted a total of 177 snares. 104 of those targeted big game and 73 targeted small game. During our patrols at Mbulia ranch we came across more than fifty Dikdik skins in a poacher’s hideout and the carcass of an elephant calf.

The elephant had been killed by a group of lions. We also came across a snared Dikdik at Sagala ranch. Logging and charcoal burning taking place at Sagala ranch and Wesstermans ranch respectively.

Observable evidence: There has been a drop in the number of snares collected this month in comparison to last month when 211 snares were collected.

However this does not mean that poaching has decreased as even though there has been a decrease in the number of snares collected there has been an increase in the number of large snares that have been set which means that the poaching of bushmeat for commercial purposes has increased.

Some of the ranches visited last month, when patrolled this month showed an increase in the number of snares collected, such as Mbulia ranch. This means that there is an increase in the demand for bushmeat which correlates with the dry season when there is a decline in the amount of food available in the communities habiting the area.

LIONHILL (inside the park) This area was revisited as a follow up to last month’s incidence of a poacher dropping the remains of a lesser kudu when trying to avoid arrest. A total of seventeen snares were lifted from near the red tank which is an area that we never thought poachers could reach.

We have thus decided to revisit the area next month to see if we can arrest any poachers.

SAGALA RANCH The ranch is an important migratory corridor for animals traveling from Tsavo East through Tsavo West to Mkimanzi in Tanzania and then back again and is thus a vital habitat accommodating a variety of animals who using the corridor.

Fifty six snares were lifted during our operations in the area 25 of which targeted large game with 31 targeting small game. The carcass of a dead snared Dikdik was also seen which means that animals browsing and grazing in the area are under threat from poachers.

MGENO RANCH This ranch is rich in biodiversity and it home for a variety of plant species, animals and bird species. The ranch has two big water dams which have water throughout the year and are thus an important water source, especially during the dry seasons. Forty nine snares were lifted all of which targeted large game. An elephant calf that had been killed by a pride of lions was also found.

The calf had small tusks which were retrieved by the Kenya Wildlife Service once we reported the finding to them.

SALTLICK RANCH (Taita Wildlife Sanctuary) This ranch is also rich in biodiversity in that there are different animals, some of which can not be found in other ranches, as well as different types of trees. The ranch has been declared as a hotspot as poachers have been found to operate in the area. This month only 5 snares targeting large game were lifted from the ranch.

MBULIA RANCH This ranch is home for many animals seeking refuge when their habitat in the park was destroyed by fire, leaving several animal and bird species without food and cover leading to their displacement from the park to the ranch. Communities adjacent to the park have taken advantage of this and have been setting snares. This is evidenced by the fact that there has not been a decline in the number of snares being set. The team therefore set an ambush and was able to intercept a poacher who unfortunately was able to evade arrest.

We were able to find the poachers hideout which contained more than fifty Dikdik skins which is an indicator that commercial poaching is taking place in the ranch.

NGUTUNI RANCH This ranch is rich in vegetation and has numerous water sources that animals can come to and quench their thirst. For this reason the ranch is considered to be a poaching hotspot and is an area that the Burra desnaring team patrols every month. The communities bordering the ranch often enter it to fetch water and continuously set snares in an effort to trap one of the many animals found in the area.

Thirteen snares were lifted 5 of which targeted large game and eight targeting small game.

WESSTERMANS RANCH This ranch is adjacent to Sagala ranch and is home for a number of bird and animal species. The ranch has scouts which patrol it in an effort to ensure that poaching is not taking place. Only 3 snares targeting small game were lifted.

COMMUNITY WORK The team organized 2 environmental education trips to the Tsavo East National Park. The 2 schools taken were: 1) Alan Mjomba Secondary School on the 28/10/2008 2) Marungu Secondary School on the 29/10/2008 The Schools were selected after consultation with Tsavo East Education Department to ensure opportunity was given to those most in need. This was also done to avoid taking the schools that had benefited before from field trips.

During the trip the students were taken to some of the parks major attractions such as Mudanda rock, Aruba Dam, Lugards Falls, and Crocodile view point. The students were given a lot of information at each site.

One of the schools also benefited from a lecture about hotel management when they visited Ashnil lodge at Aruba dam, thus allowing them to about their futures and jobs that they might like to do.

The Students thoroughly enjoyed their game drives and they all got to see and saw elephants, buffaloes, lions, giraffes, gerenuk, zebras, lesser kudu, waterbuck and impala among other animals.

The representatives from each school embraced the Trust’s community initiatives and our efforts to help needy schools. Both schools hoped to benefit from further assistance and field trips in the future. The students from both schools were also treated to a video show and were given a lecture about conservation.

Report by Nicodemus Kivindyo