Faru Team Burra Update: 01 September 2008

Faru Team Burra Update: 01 September 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 August, the Burra team covered the following areas: Ngutuni Ranch, Kijare Ranch/ Lower Sagala, Lion hill area/fence line and Salt Lick Ranch (Taita Wildlife Sanctuary).

211 SNARES RECOVERED 3 ARRESTS

FINDINGS. During the months operations the team lifted a total of 211 snares. 57 of those targeted big game and 154 targeted small game. The team arrested 3 poachers; 2 at Kijare Ranch and 1 at Mbulia ranch. All poachers arrested were in possession of bush meat. Two carcasses of snared Dikdik were found at Lion Hill area and remains of a snared Lesser Kudu were found after the poacher dropped his belongings trying to escape from capture by the team. The team accompanies the BBC Crew during their filming expedition and the crew filmed how the team operates desnaring activities. The Crew was also shown the diversity and type of snares used by poachers & other poaching tools.

Observable evidence: There has been a slight drop in general in snares collected compared with last month’s record of 313 snares. The poaching activities have not reduced; the poachers have simply changed tactics. In fact the number poachers arrested in possession of bush meant has increased in comparison with previous months. The team has discovered a new poaching method practiced by poachers. The poachers are currently setting snares under a specific Acacia tree species known as Acacia Tortilis. This is because during this season the tree drops its dry pods which are a favourite in the diet of many animals particularly herbivores.

NGUTUNI RANCH: This area borders the Tsavo East National Park and the wildlife regularly travels into this area due to availability of food & water. A wide variety of wildlife is present in the ranch. During the patrols in the ranch 66 snares were lifted. Out of which 40 targeted big game and 26 targeted small game.

This number of snares indicates a sharp increase in snaring within the ranch. The team will increase its pressure and patrol the area more regularly.

MBULIA RANCH The Ranch is now home to many different species after being displaced from their habitat after a recent fire in Ndii & Irima areas. The team lifted 27 snares all targeting small to medium sized game. A poacher was also arrested in possession of 2 snared Dikdik carcasses. The arrested poacher helped the team de-snare all his snares which he had set before being arrested.

KIJARE/LOWER SAGALA: This Ranch is community owned and it borders Sagala Ranch. The ranch is home mainly to small game which is under serous threat due to habitat degradation in the Ranch.

A total of 59 snares were lifted all targeting small game and two poachers were arrested in possession of game meat. The poachers were discovered at their hideout after the team members were in the vicinity for about 4 hours.
One of the poachers was an ex-Tarhi Camp employee from Tsavo East National Park whose job was terminated during the fall in tourism following the election clashes in Kenya at the beginning of the year. The poacher still wore the full uniform of the Tarhi Camp staff.

LION HILL/ FENCE LINE AREA The team patrolled this area thoroughly as it had been about 2 months since the last patrol took place in the area. A total of 49 snares were lifted, 7 of which targeted big game and 42 targeted small game. Two Dikdik carcasses were found, both killed by snares.

The team got information that a poacher was operating along the fence line and set ambush for the poacher. The poacher was nearly within our grasp but unfortunately escaped narrowly. He dropped his kill and left behind remains of a lesser Kudu.
The remains were taken to KWS investigation department. The Team was pleased to hear the next day the poacher was caught and arrested by KWS.

SALT LICK RANCH This area is rich in biodiversity both in fauna & flora. The team patrolled here accompanied by the BBC Crew who were covering a story about our desnaring efforts in Kenya. The Team took the film crew to this area as it is a well known hotspot for poaching.

The crew filmed desnaring activities and was shown various snare & poaching methods that are used by poachers.
10 snares were lifted during the exercise all targeting big game.

COMMUNITY WORK The team organized 2 environmental education trips to the Tsavo East National Park. The 2 schools taken were: 1) Marungu Primary School- on 3rd of September 2) Hariesta High School – on 4th of September The Schools were selected after consultation with Tsavo East Education Department to ensure opportunity was given to those most in need.

Both Schools had never visited the park before. Visiting the park was a major highlight for them and the excitement was very high amongst the students and teachers. We were informed that these schools had tried to go several times to the Park but neither had the funds necessary for such an excursion. During the trip the student were taken to the major attractions such as Mudanda rock which attracts allot of wildlife at this time of year due to availability of water. The Student loved the game drive and saw Elephants, zebras, giraffes, impalas and many other animals.

The entire group was taken to the educational centre to get more information about Tsavo from the warden. The students were later shown a conservation video.
Everybody taken on the trip showed great gratitude to the team for organizing & funding the trip for them. The Trust was highly praised for its efforts to educate the locals in Environmental matters and improving the livelihoods of the locals.

Report by Nicodemus Kivindyo