James Mbuthia – team leader
Area of operation:
During the month of April the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Mukurulo, Tindima, Thali, Kimana, Birikani, Kenzili, Oldonyo Sambu, Lemasusu, and the Sinet and Satelite areas
The month’s operation was divided into two phases. The first phase is to ensure that the park is free of snares.
While patrolling inside the park we arrested 6 people. The first arrests that were made were of 2 carvers who were apprehended at Kenzili. We were able to ambush them at their hideout which was spotted in the thick forest.
Carving is the second most prevalent vice in the Chyulus and due to the fact that it is an ever growing business. We arrested one charcoal burner at Tidima
which is an area where a lot of charcoal burning is taking place. 3 miraa harvesters were arrested at Thali.
Our operations were designed to explore the region and familiarize the de-snaring team with the Chyulu national park and its environs. We did not lift any snares during the month’s operations.
The second phase of the month’s operations targeted the ranches. There are few animals inside the park which is why there were no snares recovered during our patrols.
We therefore turned our efforts to the ranches that neighbor the park, where the largest concentration of animals can be found. Cases of lamping were seen in Kimana sanctuary.
We set up an observation post at a hill and were able to sight a gang of lampers who were about 3 kilometers away. We followed the gang but were unable to apprehend them as we were separated from them by a herd of elephants. We kept up the pressure in the area for the following days but no arrests were made. Our intelligence sources reveal that Chagga, Kamba and some compromised Maasai are more active in the bushmeat trade. We also gathered intelligence that bushmeat is being sold across the border in Tanzania.
Miraa harvesters seem to be operating widely in the Chyluls and it has become obvious to us that poaching is intertwined with other vices taking place inside the park.
Early this month all the de-snaring team members underwent a training course that was conducted by the British army.
The training took place at our home base in Mtito and was aimed at helping the team be more effective when out in the field.
This was the second training course to take place this year and concepts of map reading, navigation, ambush techniques and patrol procedures were taught.
Report by James Mbuthia