Faru Team Burra Update: 01 October 2009
Henry Lekochere – Team Leader John Malonza Samuel Masaku Rajab Fundi Kennedy Mungai
Area of Opeartion
During the month of October the Burra team patrolled the Mwatate Sisal Estate, Mgeno Reserve, Sagala Ranch & Teri Ranch. The team also took students from the Mwatunge and Maili Kumi Primary School to Tsavo East National Park on a educational trip. The team also donated desks to the Marasi B Primary School.
245 SNARES LIFTED NO ARRESTS
In a normal year poaching activities tend to fluctuate with the weather patterns. Poaching increases in dry seasons and decreases in wet seasons when there is plenty of food from farming. Throughout the drought the Team had believed that once the drought ends most poachers will resume their previous farming activities and levels of poaching will decrease. Sadly with the return of the rains this theory has been proven incorrect. The Team was disappointed to discover that poaching activities have not changed since the arrival of the desperately needed rains. In fact now that poachers have realized the benefit of poaching they will not resume to their previous activities. The poachers have made poaching an important part of their income and so their attitudes have unfortunately gotten worse. Snaring is at an all time high and is beginning to have negative affect on humans as well as wildlife. This month the team found a camel that had been killed by a snare as well as a villager that got injured from a snare.
Amazingly our Patrols and interaction with the local communities is very positive. The Team has had offers from local Farmers & Herders who want to assist with patrol efforts.
Mwatate Sisal Estate
This is a large farm which is located near the Taveta area. The Farm mainly grows Sisal however large tracks of hilly land with very dense bush has been left untouched and is home to allot of wildlife. It is this part of the Farm the Team concentrates its efforts. A total of 47 snares were lifted during patrols, some of which were freshly set. The team caught one of the farm employees roasting a Vervet monkey. The employee said his reason for doing this was because he was employed to tackle the monkey and baboon problem the farm is experiencing as the moneys come to feed on the Sisal causing damage to the farms produce. The Team reported the act to Farm Management.
This is a reserve which forms part of the Community Land that borders Mgeno Ranch and Mwatate Sisal Estate. The area is dominated by Taita tribes of small scale Farmers. More recently however, there has been a large immigration of Somali Herders with their Camels who have settled in this area. It was the Somali Herders who informed us regarding the poaching activities after one of their camels was killed by a snare. With the help of the Somali Herder the team patrolled and lifted 66 snares targeting both big and small game. The team also came across a hideout with Zebra skin and hooves.
This is a cattle Ranch owned by 50 shareholders. The Ranch has been leased to Somali cattle herders and unfortunately is being poorly managed. The Ranch borders Kijale Village to the West and Muangu Village to the east. Poachers from these Villages are active on Ranch land. During patrols 32 snares were lifted. The team found remains of a poached Warthog as well as a Zebra.
The Ranch borders the Mwatate Sisal Estate and Mgeno Reserve. It is difficult terrain to patrol as it is very thick bush of acacia shrubs. Poaching levels are high despite the terrain. A total of 100 snares were lifted during patrols. The Team will continue patrols in this area.
During the month of October the Burra Team took two schools on Environmental Education excursions. These Schools were Mwatunge Primary School and Maili Kumi Primary School.
Both Schools are situated along the Voi- Taveta Road and the students reside in areas the Team regularly Patrol. These Trips help to build a good relationship between the Communities and the Team which assists in anti-poaching efforts. Many of the students told team members that they have eaten game meat and their parents purchase the game meat from the poachers, some even confessed that their father is poaching. 50% of the students we took on the School trip admitted to eating game meat (the statistic are probably higher, some students seemed fearful to openly admit such actions). The Team encouraged an initiative to deal with this through education and awareness. The Team also came up with a “No eating game meat” song in hopes that education and exposure will change the students’ perspective of eating game meat and contributing to the degradation on their environment. The Team focused on showing the Students the benefit of wildlife other than meat on the dinner table. The only solution to this problem is through Environmental Education, tackling poverty & unemployment and allowing the local communities surrounding National Parks to directly benefit from tourism. If they can benefit from the income generated by tourism yet at the same time be exposed to environmental education their attitudes about poaching, logging, and illegal cattle grazing may change.
The Burra Team donated 30 desks to Marasi B Primary School; this school is situated a few kilometers from Maungu town and borders Tsavo East National Park. This is a relatively new school which was established several years ago and most students attending come from Maasai communities. The school is very under funded and lacks many basic teaching tools. This donation was hugely appreciated by the students and their parents.
This month has given the Team more issues to work towards in the near future. The School Trips have given the Team reason to come up with new and more engaging ways of getting the Communities behind anti-poaching efforts. The Team got good positive feedback from the cattle herders and was pleased to have voluntary offers from community members for patrolling assistance.
Report by Henry Lekochere