Mathew Kiura – team leader
2 KWS Rangers
Area of operation:
During the month of September, the Burra team concentrated its de-snaring operations in the following areas: Dokota, Bachuma, Maungu, Ndara plains, Sagala ranch, Kajire, Ngutuni, Ndii area, Mbulia group ranch, Manyani. Our operations involved foot and vehicle patrols, reconnaissance and dawn and dusk ambushes.
127 SNARES RECOVERED
A total of 136 snares were lifted, 8 targeting big game such as zebras and giraffe, 1 targeted medium game such as gazelles, and 127 targeting small game, such as dikdiks and birds.
Our findings indicate that snaring during the month of September has reduced following our increased patrols. It has also become clear that there are more snares targeting small game than large game, as well as the fact that there are more snares being set in non protected areas than in the protected areas.
The team will therefore have to concentrate its operations in the non protected areas in order to lift the snares, gather information and create awareness about wildlife conservation.
The number of snares has reduced greatly which is an indication that poaching has also declined. However the dry conditions of the past months, continue, the result of which is that a lot of cattle are being brought into the park for grazing which causes retrogression through the destruction of natural habitats by domestic animals. Cattle also compete with the wildlife fro browse forcing the move to specific areas to feed.
It has also been noticed that charcoal burning and logging are also taking place and it has been noted that where there is charcoal burning there is poaching as the two are inseparable.
Lorries destined for Nairobi and Mombasa are encouraging logging for firewood as they collect the firewood that is stacked along the highway.
The Burra de-snaring team gathered the charcoal burners into a group in order to educate them about environmental issues and wildlife conservation in an effort to stop them from logging, charcoal burning and poaching.
The main problem encountered in these areas was the grazing of domestic animals in the park.
These animals trample the vegetation causing environmental degradation which eventually affects the survival of the wild animals.
Grazing in the park was also an issue in these areas which hundreds of animals entering the park. We noticed that where cattle grazing was taking place there were fewer wild animals.
Charcoal burning, logging for firewood and snaring of small game and birds were the issues most prevalent during our patrols.
We came across poachers, loggers, and charcoal burners hideouts where we found snares targeting birds.
We gathered the charcoal burners together and tried to educate them about environmental issues.
We came across a handcart that was loaded to the brim with sacks of charcoal.
This was an indication of the amount of charcoal burning that is taking place in this area. We lifted several snares from a drift fence that had been made of branches that could not be used for charcoal burning.
Snaring in the Ngutuni area has declined thins month due to the frequent patrols that are carried out by the team.
Due to the frequent patrols conducted by the Burra team it has been noticed that snaring has decreased in the Ndii area and that there has been an increase in the number of wildlife. Vandalism of the water pipeline continued this month with the team recovering 11 galvanized pipes that had been removed by the vandals.
We also recovered a spade, a crowbar and a jembe from along the vandalized pipeline
Snaring has decreased at the Mbulia ranch; however logging is still a problem.
During our patrols in the area we came across a hideout in which we found a chunk of meat that had been hung to dry from the roof.
We searched the area for snares and other illegal activities and came across the feathers of guinea fowl that had been snared at Manyani.
The month’s community activities took place at various schools where we showed wildlife videos and presented talks about wildlife conservation and environmental issues.
Our main theme was the importance of wildlife. The aim was to arouse awareness in the young generation about the need to conserve wildlife and their natural habitat in order to change their attitude towards the wildlife resources around them.
The schools visited were Kirutai primary Ikanga primary, Mshimba secondary and Ngongondinyi primary.
Report by Mathew Kiura