James Mbuthia – team leader
2 KWS rangers
Area of operation:
During the month of May the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: KARI ranch, Birikani Ranch, Kiboko/Klinyet River and Kaputei ranch.
98 SNARES COLLECTED
The team was based at KARI ranch, which is a poaching hotspot. The ranch is synonymous with lamping, snaring and charcoal burning. Of the 98 snares recovered this month, 73 of them were lifted at KARI ranch. All of the snares lifted in this area targeted large game.
The snares had been set along animal routes which led to areas containing fresh grass and water. As the drought persists, water and grazing reserves are dwindling which forces the animals to migrate to the ranch in search of water and food.
The animals become vulnerable to poachers as the ranch is not run by the KWS but by the ministry of agriculture and is not well equipped with security operatives. The team patrolled the small escarpment and came across a snaring fence line containing fresh snares. Thankfully none of the snares had trapped any animals. Al the snares were lifted and we set up an ambush to see if anyone came to check the snares but no one appeared.
During the team’s patrols in this area we were able to arrest 2 individuals who we believe are meat poachers disguising themselves as Miraa pickers.
The two individuals were arrested at the Corner tatu part of the ranch, and were headed towards the lower part of the ranch where the animals had recently been congregating. We believe that the two had hidden their weapons in a hideout, but they wouldn’t tell us where it was. All of their belongings were confiscated.
KIBOKO/KLINYET RIVER STRETCH
The team moved its base to Kiboko in order to patrol the Klinyet River stretch.
The river is often frequented by wildlife during the dry periods. The team patrolled along the river upstream towards Kaputei ranch and was able to lift 25 snares all of which targeted large game. People using the river water for farming purposes are also guilty of setting snares.
Cases of charcoal burning were seen to be taking place especially inside the lava flows.
The team also patrolled the Kaputei ranch up to Simba and came across a lot of game. We interrogated the Massai in the area who told us that poaching is not taking place in the ranch. Generally the ranches are relatively safe from snarers. Unfortunately however lamping continues to be a big challenge for us.
A lot of animals were spotted during the month’s operations, including herds of zebra, elands, giraffes, gnus, gerenuks and Impalas.
It seems that the majority of the animals are currently in the ranches forcing the team to concentrate its operations in those areas.
The plains were beautiful and filled with animal. Cattle and wildlife mingled freely in the ranches, competing for the grass that is found there. As the grazing reserves decrease we expect that animals to migrate back into the park
A baby elephant was rescued near Kimana. It ad been found in one of the homesteads in the area. The case was reported to the trust by Richard Bonham. The elephant was airlifted to the Trust’s nursery in Nairobi. The team is investigating the reason for the calf’s separation from its mother.
This month two schools, Soto Primary and Kithasyo Primary, benefited from the donation of Sports equipment.
The community and the entire school were very thankful for the donation which was a big boost for the schools as it will enable the children to nurture their sporting talents from an early age.
At the function it was emphasized that the communities need to protect and conserve their environment and its natural resources. The communities promised to work together with us in an effort to achieve our conservation efforts.
The two schools were also treated to field trips into Tsavo National park where they visited Shetani lave, Chaimu hill, and Mzima springs.
Alot of wildlife was seen during their trips which were enormously enjoyed by everyone that attended.
The Chyulu team has been given a new mobile cinema unit to be used for shows presented to schools and communities neighboring the park in an effort to enhance conservation education.
. A video show was given to Kiboko Primary school. The unit came at the perfect time, when awareness is a necessity, as degradation of the environment and poaching is taking place in the Chyulu and its environs.
Report by James Mbuthia