Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 July 2009

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 July 2009

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Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo David Wambua Daniel Lekoiten John Wahome

Area of operation:

During the month of July the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Umani, Kiboko and the Kibwezi forest.

211 SNARES COLLECTED

OPERATION OBJECTIVES.

• To intensively patrol Umani springs area and Kibwezi forest to ensure maximum security of wildlife. • To patrol hotspots for illegal activities such as KARI and Kiboko • To establish a level of control over the areas worst affected by poaching & other activities that cause degradation to the environment.

INTRODUCTION

Kenya’s resources are under increasing pressure due to both global and national factors. Global factors include loss of jobs due to the Economic recession as well as environmental factors like Global Warming. The drought is as a result of a combination of global warming as well as the massive degradation to Kenya’s water catchment areas, forests, and severe degradation to the land by overgrazing and destruction of vegetation. This is a serious cause for concern to all in Kenya and hence we are currently having debates in government regarding protection of the Mau Forest and other water catchment areas.

FINDINGS

The protection of the Umani springs remains our number one priority. The fact that the country is in a severe water crisis makes these natural water springs of utmost importance to both people and wildlife in the area. Thousands of people in the Kibwezi district depend on the springs as a source of water and hence all stakeholders should cooperate in ensuring this resource is sustainable for future generations. Our community project had been very successful in enhancing this cause.

During patrols the Team lifted 28 snares all targeting medium sized game at Nduti area, and 109 snares targeting medium game along the forest/park boundary. These patrols were crucial bearing in mind the wildlife is trying to cross out of the park to Umani springs for water. This means although the forest may be safer the park is vulnerable to poaching activities.

The team noticed new recent arrivals of wildlife in search of water, two Zebras are now regularly visiting the camp. Aside from threats of poaching, other negative effects of areas bordering the park is that cattle herds are driven into the forest and compete with wildlife for foliage.

KARI / KIBOKO/ MAKINDU AREA

The drought has lead to severe conditions in these areas, the lack of water has led to higher poaching and other illegal activities, putting the land under further stress.

As wildlife is beginning to gather around the last remaining water sources the poaching too concentrate their efforts in these areas. 79 snares targeting big game were lifted. Poachers have adopted methods of driving wildlife out of ranches and into the community farms by literally chasing them out of protected land into areas where they can trap the game in hostile areas. The animals are then arrowed, stoned, or slashed to death. The Team together with KWs Rangers rescued ne Zebra trapped in Makindu being attacked by a huge crowd; The Zebra was moved to a safe area by the Team.

UMANI CAMP.

The camp is due to begin being constructed this month. The construction has begun and will continue for some months to come. The camp is using locals to help with construction which comes at a timely moment for the people of the area struggling to get employment and support their families.

ANIMAL SIGHTINGS.

The team came across several wildlife species like zebra, buffaloes, birds, among others. Elephants seemed to be concentrated around the Umani springs area. Animals continue to visibly flourish due to intensified security from the Team.

CURRENT SITUATION.

Cattle grazing & wood collection is allowed in the forest reserve for a fee paid to the forest office. However the carrying capacity of the forest for these activities is well over the limit which is indicating this system is not sustainable.

POACHING TRENDS

As mentioned in the report poaching is getting more desperate and more severe due to a combination of factors.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS.

The Team requires the support of the local communities in order to really have a significant & long lasting positive effect on conservation of the area. The team makes as effort to maintain a god relationship with the local communities in the areas of patrol and the locals are given privileges of working with the Trust whenever possible. Environmental Education through film shows and school trips is part of the effort. WILDLIFE FILMS

Musyini Primary School enjoyed a wildlife film show and conservation lecture this month.

SCHOOL TRIPS

Two schools, namely Nguumo Secondary and Muthingini Primary schools, where taken on trips to Tsavo West National Park. Both visited the Parks main attractions like Roaring Rocks, Rhino Valley, Shetani Lava, Chaimu Hills and Ngulia Bandas. Being their second trip the students learnt about animals living species and their natural environment and the economic value of wildlife. The protection of the environment and their role in this important issue as young Kenyans was also emphasized.

Report by James Mbuthia