Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 April 2010

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 April 2010

Participants. James Mbuthia – Team Leader Julius Kyalo Daniel Lekoiten Samuel Adero David Wambua

Mtito Team Members:

Patrick Kimeu Francis Chege Nterio Kapina Samuel Lolochuraki Vincent Mutua James Nyumu

Introduction. Deforestation and forest degradation can adversely affect many ecological processes. To counter such effects account must be taken of the characteristics of the biophysical environment pattern of resource use and consumption, socio cultural conditions and socio economic roots of poverty. A shift from commercial re forestation programmes to community involvement in forest resources development will have long-term benefits that are sustainable. Social and farm forestry practices should be encouraged.

Activity period. The desnaring exercise was done from 2nd to 29th April 2010.

Patrol objectives. To stop illegal charcoal burners and loggers from destroying Kibwezi forest as a vital water catchment area. To dominate animal ranging areas and protect wildlife from poachers. Secure the forest from illegal grazing of domestic livestock. To identify and contain the forest hot spots.

Area covered. Kibwezi forest.

Findings. 18 Arrests 1 Snare

The month’s patrols were done in conjunction with the Mtito desnaring team. This is due to the fact that the Chyulu team leader is in the process of training the new Mtito team leader. While camping at Kenze the teams patrolled all sides of the Kibwezi forest during both the day and night. With the advantage of an excellent view of the whole area, the teams managed to arrest 18 people either carrying charcoal or wet wood, or in the process of preparing the kilns or cutting trees. Most charcoal burners operate at night under the light of the moon or with torches. Some of the culprits were arrested at 8.00 pm while others were arrested at dawn.

Charcoal kilns set at night were destroyed and tools confiscated as the wood was set on fire.

The team’s investigations reveal that some people have adapted a system of preparing the kilns at their homesteads by carrying wood from the forest. Most of the culprits were intercepted at the Eastern side of the forest. It’s sad to realize that most parents are recruiting their children into the vice; this is evidenced by the fact that some of the culprits were arrested in the company of children aged below 18 years.

Another observation is that most charcoal burners and poachers are relocating to the park as some were intercepted on the Western side of the forest enroute to the park. The involvement of neighbouring communities in different projects inside the forest, such as the clearing of boundaries and roads has helped alot in containing illegal activities in the forest since most have confessed and promised not to take part in illegal activities, while others are willing to offer information leading to the capture of wrong doers.

Animal sightings. The reduction of human activities in the forest, has led to the free movement of wildlife within the forest. This is evidenced by increased animal sightings such as well as the presence of their foot prints. These are both signs that snaring has been somewhat contained, although 1 dead wire snare was found on the eastern side of the forest.

Community awareness.

Tree planting day. As schools were on Easter break not many community activities were carried out. The teams managed to participate in a tree planting exercise which was organised by the area forester near Kenze camp. Community members were invited to participate in the exercise. During the event they were told to be instrumental in restoring the degraded areas.

Radio programme. The team leader was invited to speak on the danger of environmental degradation and the effects being experienced as a result of the degradation. The target group was the central highlands communities which are in a vital catchment area, and as such there was a need to sensitize the communities to protect and participate in its conservation.

Report by Patrick Kimeu