De – Snaring Report for July 2006
James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo Nasarwa Esmegere David Wambua Isaiah Ndei 4 KWS rangers
Area of operation:
During the month of June the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Kikunduku, Kaunguni, Mitaba, Kibwezi forest, Umani Springs and Satellite Areas.
122 SNARES COLLECTED 37 ARRESTS
This forest is famous for its Umani springs from the Chulu Hills, is a very important conservation area as it is one of the only fresh water sources for the Southern end of Makueni District and is therefore a matter of life/ death to a large population.
The forest houses quite a large number of birds, butterflies, monkeys, Elephants, and many other animal species. These animals rely on the forest for shelter, food and water throughout the year. Therefore further destruction to this fragile ecosystem will lead to the death of many animal species as well as the drying of the springs which in turn will effect the human population and deprive both the animals and humans of vital water supply. The charcoal burning business in not sustainable because the reforestation process will always be a challenge in these area considering that the rainfall is erratic. We fear this degradation will also contribute to more human- wildlife conflict as the animals will begin to pass through farms in order to reach water from the Athi River. The general climate in the area is already getting increasingly hotter and drier.
In order for this problem to be tackled it is important to sensitize the surrounding community to the importance of conserving the forest and the park itself. The forest is at a critical stage so it is important that the KWS and other law enforcement bodies like the forest department work together to intensify patrols, apprehend offenders, and also educate the community & future generations on the importance of their cause.
The team also concentrated on the park boundary to reduce illegal entry to the park. Kikunduku area is a well known charcoal burning hotspot in the Chulus. About 18 were arrested in this area. We saw huge smoke clouds from far away caused by charcoal burning activities, when we reached the spot we destroyed the charcoal kiln and confiscated a large amount of charcoal.
A total of 122 snares were lifted.
The park seems to have had an increase in wildlife numbers following a period of tough anti poaching efforts. Many herds of hartebeests, Elands, and Zebras where sighted.
Report by James Mbuthia