Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 July 2010

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 July 2010

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Participants.

James Mbuthia.

Stephen Senga

Julius Kyalo.

David Wambua.

Daniel Lekoiten

Introduction.

The challenge of the 21st century will be water.  Pressure on the water catchment areas by man areas particularly by man threatens his very survival as well as that of the environment.  The illegal exploitation of natural resources particularly charcoal burning and logging are the main approaches used by the people.  This wanton destruction of the environment will bring about drying of rivers and shallow wells which translates to hunger and poverty.  Only people with sober minds appreciate the importance of nature especially leaving it intact.

Activity period.

The desnaring exercise was done from 2nd to 26th of July 2010.

Patrol objectives.

To assess, contain and eliminate illegal activities currently being carried out in the Chyulu National Park.

To apprehend those involved with illegal activities.

To list and document all the animals that are sighted.

To map out poaching hot spots.

To dominate the areas for maximum security of wildlife

Area covered.

Kibwezi forest and the Chyulu National park

Findings.

14 Snares.

2-Bicycles

19Charcoal burners.

6 Wood carvers.

The team patrolled extensively in the Kibwezi forest which is our first priority.  Few charcoal kilns were seen and destroyed around Usalama, however no arrests were made since the people operated from at night from the Kibwezi forest. The team also observed that a gang from the Ndeini area had sneaked into the forest for wood carving.  The team outwitted them and arrested 4 in a single strike.  They had just stared carving, and this showed the effectiveness of the team in keeping the forest safe.  We also received a tip off that a gang of wood cavers was leaving the park and we laid an ambush near the forest boundary where we saw and consequently arrested 2 people.

Our return to the park came at the right time.  Many of the charcoal burners that had been chased out of the forest moved to the park and the nearby ranches to carry out their illegal activities.  KARI area seemed to be worst hit where we arrested almost all the charcoal burners apprehended during the month’s operations.  When visiting this area we saw a lot of charcoal burning activities taking place and came across many fresh and old kilns charcoal kilns.  The wet wood and the active kilns were destroyed so as to frustrate the charcoal burners.  It was noted that both men and women are involved in charcoal burning.  2 bicycles were also confiscated during our operations in the area.

Park fires/Snaring.

In the satellite area park fires were evident which is a sign that early bush meat poachers are about to start their illegal activities.  Only 14 snares were lifted during the month all of which were found in the Kibwezi forest.  Poaching in the park has changed from snaring to lamping and arrowing.  The efficacy of snares is proportionate to the abundance of animals.

Current situation.

Charcoal burning is high especially in the ranches.

Observations/Conclusion/Recommendations

Within the Kibwezi forest charcoal burning has decreased tremendously and most likely it is almost contained which we consider to be a great achievement.  Snaring is very scanty almost nil compared to when we first visited the arrived in 2006.

There has been an upward revenue collection by KFS since the team has stopped all illegal firewood collection.  The team constantly checks all the receipts on firewood collection something that is supported by the area forester.

Charcoal burning and forest fires are the biggest threats to the entire Chyulu catchment area.  Charcoal burning is high in the ranches and within the park and the desnaring team is working closely with KWS and has successfully arrested many culprits.  Many charcoal burners arrested site lack of income as the major driving force for their engaging in this illegal activity. 

Animal populations in the park are few compared to previous years.  The threat to mammals in the park especially through the bush meat trade is one of the many challenges facing conservation.  The many methods of poaching being used interchangeably reflect the magnitude of the problem.  We might not record high figures of snares but that does not mean that poaching is not there.

Community awareness.

School trips.

Students from Kaunguni secondary school and Kalakalya primary school benefited from an excursion into Tsavo west national park.  During the trip various species of wildlife were seen but not in large numbers.  The need for the protection of natural resources was emphasized to all the students.  Shetani lava, Mzima springs, Chaimu and rhino valley were visited by the groups who were both very grateful for the field trips.

Report by

James Mbuthia.