Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 July 2008

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 July 2008

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Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo David Wambua Isaiah Ndei Daniel Lekoiten 2 KWS rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of July the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Kibwezi, Umani Springs, Kari, Kikunduku, and the Satellite area.

ARRESTS 3

55 SNARES COLLECTED

KIBWEZI FOREST / UMANI SPRINGS The Kibwezi forest is a habitat for a variety of animals including Elephants, Bush pigs, Buffaloes, and Bushbucks. The forest is under a great deal of pressure from bushmeat poachers, woodcarvers and charcoal burners. During our patrols in this area the team ambushed two bushmeat poachers. Unfortunately one of the poachers escaped. We were however able to arrest the second poacher who was found to be in possession of 25kgs of bushbuck meat.

The poacher was also made to lift any snares that he had set, which numbered 5. The following day we intercepted another poacher who was on his way to Umani Springs. Unfortunately we were unable to arrest him. We did however manage to lift 43 snares all of which targeted medium sized game. Due to the forests lush vegetation and its numerous water sources it is a haven for animals which makes them vulnerable to the poachers. This is especially true this month as parts of the park are being burnt by arsonists.
The animals have therefore moved into the forest in search of food and water. For this reason we carried out several patrols in the area and were able to arrest two charcoal burners operating near the park boundary.
The two charcoal burners were booked at the Kibwezi police station, the same place that the arrested poacher had been booked.

KARI The team received information about two poachers who were operating in this area. We were informed that they poachers were using the lamping method in order to slash and kill the animals. The team left for Kari at about 2am in order to carry out ambushes along the routes that the poachers were most likely to use. At dawn the team started patrolling the area and came across 9 bicycles that had been hidden in the bush.

Due to the rough terrain in the area the poachers need to carry the meat out of the bush to the bicycles in order to transport them to market. The poachers may have been informed that we were coming and escaped via another route, thus leaving their bicycles behind. The recovery of the 9 bicycles shows how bit the bush meat problem is. The loss of the bicycles will be big blow to the poachers who need them for their business.

KIKUNDUKU The team patrolled the Kikunduku area along the hills in order to see if snaring was taking place. As this is the pack snaring period there was a need to check all areas especially those where bushfires had been set. The team noted that there were several fires that had been set around Kikunduku. We were able to lift 6 snares targeting animals like Elands and Hartebeests. Due to the rough terrain in the area the team was dropped off and had to walk to the hotspots which were rather far from the drop off point. This indicates that there is a need to better the road networks in the area.

SATELLITE AREA The Satellite area is another poaching hotspot that the team visits every month. We discovered an abandoned snaring fence line. We feel that, due to our continued presence in the Satellite area, the poachers have lifted their snares from the fence line and moved them to another location.

ANIMAL SIGHTINGS. During the course of the team’s patrols we came across Elands, Hartebeests, Reedbucks, Bushbucks, and Duikers. A lot of wildlife has began to migrate into the park in large numbers as they are attracted by the fresh shoots and grass that begin to sprout after the burning of vegetation in certain areas.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS This month two schools, Nguluni and Kitheini primary schools, were taken on excursions into Tsavo West National Park.

The pupils saw a variety of wildlife and thoroughly enjoyed their field trips.
The trips are an important learning tool used to relay the need for conservation to the younger generation. The trips also make an impact on the communities neighboring the park as they are a way for our desnaring team to forge partnerships with the communities with the aim of achieving our conservation objectives.

VIDEO SHOWS The team held a video show at Soto primary school which attracted a large number of people from the surrounding communities.

We have seen a change in the attitude of the people in theses communities as they are now ready to disclose information about poachers to the team. They have come to realize that it is important to conserve the wildlife and are now working with us by passing on vital information that can be used to apprehend wrong doers. The demand for wildlife films is enormous and we are now holding wildlife shows for the adults as well as children which is very encouraging as it means that we are reaching a larger audience which will benefit our conservation efforts.

Report by James Mbuthia