Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 February 2008

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 February 2008

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Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo David Wambua Isaiah Ndei Sylvester Matheka Daniel Lekoiten

Area of operation:

During the month of February the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Chyulu 2, Mbukoni, Mbotela, Kathekani, Kisyula caves, and Kibwezi forest.

ARRESTS 18

FINDINGS

The continued presence of the desnaring team in the park has contributed to the changing levels of snaring and poaching in the park with poaching being shifted to other areas of the park. The Chyulu team carried out its desnaring activities in three phases during the month of February.

First Phase The first phase of our desnaring activities targeted Kisyula caves, Kibwezi forest and Umani Springs. One miraa harvester was arrested. The areas had a lot of footprints but we were unable to determine if they were from poachers. There were a lot of Elephant prints in and around Umani sprints which shows that there is an increase in the number of elephants in the area. The human wildlife conflict problems in these areas are high and need to be addressed. A solution to the problem could be the installation of electric fencing.

Second Phase After moving our camp to Chyulu 2 we continued our desnaring activities by visiting Mbukoni, Motela, kathekakai and the general Chyulu 2 area. 7 people were arrested for various offences.

There has been an increase in the number of people entering the park and carrying out illegal activities. Miraa harvesting is one of the biggest vices as it has a high commercial value and it has been found to be interlinked with the bushmeat trade.

Third Phase The third phase of our desnaring activities took place around the Kaunguni area.

The team was able to arrest 7 Miraa harvesters who were found in the park.
During the month the team patrolled the section near Bonhams and the adjacent hills where a big usable track was seen. After setting an ambush which lasted for 5 hours we were able to arrest 5 people.

Snaring No snares were lifted during the course of the month which could be attributed to the fact that most of the wildlife has moved out of the park and into the surrounding ranches. A herd of Hartebeest, several Elands and Giraffes were the only animals that were sighted. The migration of the animals into the ranches means that the poachers have also probably moved their snares into the same areas as this is where the wildlife can be found.

There were several illegal activities that were seen to be taking place in the park such as Miraa harvesting, logging and charcoal burning all of which are a big problem and difficult to control.

The farms have experienced a bumper harvest this season which means that people were busy tending to their farms. This however does not mean that illegal activities are not taking place and several people were arrested for different vices. The following individuals were arrested:

In Kisyula 1 Miraa harvester, in Mbuknoi 2 Miraa pickers, Kathekakai forest 3 charcoal burners and 2 Miraa harvesters, in Kivuthini 1 Miraa picker
and in Mobtela 1 Miraa picker.

The lower end of Chyulu 2 near Kathekakai forest is a charcoal burning hotspot.

Numerous kilns were found and destroyed and the area is one that we will be concentrating on in the next couple of months. Beyond Kathekakai at Mobondeni there is an entrance point used by wood carvers. This is another area that will be concentrated on by the Chyulu team.

Road works The rehabilitation of the Kisyula caves road has started and is going at a reasonable pace. The aim of this is to increase accessibility to the area so as to make patrols more effective and also open the area up to tourists.

Community awareness As part of our community outreach program the Trust took some students from Ngiluni primary school for a field trip into Tsavo West National Park on the 26th of February. The areas visited included Shetani lava, Mzima Springs, Chaimu hill, Roaring rocks, Rhino valley, and the Rhino sanctuary among others.

The purpose of the outing was to show the children the beauty of the wildlife around them and the need to conserve it.

Report by James Mbuthia