James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo Nasarwa Esimegele Isaiah Ndei Kathuki Ngongo David Wambua
Area of operation:
During the month of January the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Umbi, the fence line, Tiva, Yatta, the stretch from Cotters to Gazi and the Mwakila areas.
Our de-snaring operations during the month of February were divided into two desnaring and road rehabilitation. We operated in the Northern area of Tsavo East National park away from the Chyulus. While based at Ithumba we patrolled along the fence line especially at Umbi, Chamanyenze, Kasala and along the Tiva. The roads were not accessible as they had been cut off and become overgrown with vegetation. The tall grass choked the car often causing it to break down. There was not much evidence of snaring as the communities are tending to their farms, and are busy harvesting. Few footprints were found on the Tiva and along the fence line.
The de-snaring team climbed to the top of the Yatta where many elephant’s footprints were found leading to peoples farms. A conflict is looming in this area. An extension of the fence line to the Athi River will solve the problem. Our patrols atop the Yatta did not reveal any illegal activities. The opening of a patrol road will serve to boost our security patrols in the area. The vegetation was overgrown which somewhat hindered our operations; however the presence of elephants in the area enforces the need to continue our patrols to ensure their safety.
We then moved our operations to Cotters camp and patrolled along the Athi River to Gazi where we also opened the roads all the way to the Gazi airstrip.
We will now also need to focus our desnaring efforts on areas that are adjacent to the river as some poacher’s hideouts are located along the Athi River on the community side. The team was able to open and rehabilitate approximately 30 kilometers of road.
COMMUNITY AWARENESS Community conservation awareness has increased. Two villages were brought together for a sporting event where conservation education was taught.
Report by James Mbuthia