Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 March 2007

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 March 2007

Share the article

Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo Nasarwa Esimegele Kathuki Ngongo David Wambua 4 KWS Rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of January the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Mukurulo, Klinyeti, Kikunduku, Kalawa, Ngiluni, Mbukoni, Mukameni, Sinai, Umani Springs and the Satellite areas.

SNARES 45 ARRESTS 10

FINDINGS.

At the beginning of the month the team was temporarily based a Mukurulo, and later moved to Utu for the rest of the months operations. At the moment the animals are found to be outside the park and in the ranches. The team concentrated its efforts in the park as this is where its main priorities lie as the park is home to an abundance of wildlife during the dry periods. As of next month we expect to see an increase in the number of wildlife in the park as the animals migrate back into the park as the grazing reserves dwindle.

While patrolling in the park the team sealed all the penetration points used by surrounding community members. It is evident that the majority of people that poach in the Chyulus come from communities that neighbor the park. In order to avoid detection and arrest these individuals change keep changing the routes that they use. People disguised as Miraa harvesters operate during the day and night. The poachers often hide their bows and arrows and snare in the park making it difficult to identify who is a poacher and who isn’t. In order to counter this, the team has redefined its operation methods working both during the day and night and setting well coordinated ambushes which have led to more arrests.

The Chyulu de-snaring team also visited Umani Springs, which is an area frequented by elephants. Here we were able to intercept two individuals on their way to an animal shooting platform near the pool. They managed to escape. However their tools, 45 snares, 2 bows and 8 poisonous arrows, which were dropped during the scuffle, were confiscated.

The poachers were intending to camp in the area for a few days. Last year, at the same hotspot, we were able to arrest 7 people. We will be sure to concentrate more or our efforts in this area in the coming months.

Charcoal burning is still the major vice in the park, with kilns being located deep in the park.

The continued pressure that we have been exerting on the charcoal burners, 10 of whom we managed to arrest this month,
must have played a role in the rise of the price of charcoal which has gone from 100 Kshs a bag to 200 Kshs a bag and more recently 450 Kshs a bag. We have also noticed a decline in the number of charcoal bags found along the main highway.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS This month the Chyulu de-snaring team visited two schools and presented sports equipment to the students of Kithyaso Primary and Ngiluni Primary.

These donations are making an impact on the communities that neighbor the park and are an indirect benefit from the park. Our continued interaction with the community members is providing a platform through which we can gather information about poaching and poachers.

Report by James Mbuthia