Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 May 2010

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 May 2010


James Mbuthia Julius Kyalo Daniel Lekoiten David Wambua Samuel Adero


Arid and semi arid lands in Kenya in which dry land forests are found account for 80% of Kenya's total land surface.The areas are increasingly becoming under imminent threat due to population pressure,increased livestock threats and draughts. In addition dry land forests are important sources of various types of forest products that are used for both local and export markets. These products include aloes, indigenous fruits, wood fuel used as charcoal, timber for building and manufacture of wooden carvings.

Activity period: From 5th -29th May 2010

Areas covered: KARI Ranch including pump area, Mwailu, Kiboko,Tidima and Kalembe raha.

Patrol objectives

1. To investigate the extent of degradation going on in the ranch. 2. To patrol and apprehend those involved with illegal activities. 3. To ensure maximum security of wildlife.

29 Arrests


The entire months patrol took place in the KARI ranch due to massive degradation that had been witnessed in the ranch. As a result of persistent pressure in the Kibwezi forest, charcoal burners have relocated either to to Maasai Ranches or KARI to continue charcoal burning. The team therefore had to follow them to these Ranches & into the Chyulu National Park boundary. While camped in the ranch the team revisited the poaching hotspots and was surprised to not find any incidence of poaching. Several cave hideous, snaring areas and waterholes were patrolled. The majority of the wildlife seems to have migrated to Maasai ranches, especially Mbirikani and Kaputei. There are major concerns amongst conservationists that with the combined effect of increased poaching rates with the loss of wildlife numbers during the recent drought, wildlife is currently in a fragile situation and is under threat. The team is determined to ensure that no more wildlife is lost especially through poaching, by intensifying patrols to allow wildlife to breed & recuperate their populations.

The team patrolled Kiboko area which is a poaching hotspot and managed to arrest 5 charcoal burners. The battle against destruction of forests is ongoing at high levels, with both men & women operating and being arrested by the team. This is unlike illegal activities such as poaching where it is only men. Out of the 5 arrests, 2 were men and 3 women.

The team confiscated 1 bicycle from the group. Bags of charcoal hidden in the bush awaiting transport to the market were also found. The team re-visited the same sight the next day which proved to be worthwhile as new hideouts and poaching routes were discovered. This led the team to capture & arrest 4 charcoal burners & confiscate 2 bicycles from the perpetrators.

The team relocated to Mukurulo base in order to operate in the lower section of KARI. Around Kari pump, 6 charcoal burners were arrested and 1 bicycle confiscated. Charcoal burners are targeting the trees around the spring, which are important for the survival of Makindu river. Any damage to this water spring will lead to a population of about 400,000 human inhabitants becoming in danger of being affected.

The team visited Kalembe Raha area which is a village on the edge of KARI. The team managed to arrest 11 charcoal burners and 1 wood carver.

This area is one of few rhino ranging areas left in the country and hence is very important to patrol and stop the destruction of the rhinos habitat as well as poachers after rhino horn. This is a big challenge, with such a big population of people nearby with the knowledge that only a few rhinos are left in the world.The team plans to dominate the area for the coming months. It is good to note that we are approaching the snaring peak period, and hence the need for high vigilance & monitoring. On the last day of operation 1 wood carver was intercepted and arrested with 2 bags of wood carvings near Mbuinzau town. The carver was a coming from the Chyulus.
The degradation of KARI and the park will continue unless a permanent solution is found. Poverty and ignorance are the main drivers for this degradation. Conservationists should come up with proper and sustainable projects that address these problems.

Community Awareness

Kyusiani primary school

During the month of may this school received donation from the Trust that exceeded 120,000/= Kenyan Shillings in value. The school was given 30 desks valued which are of good quality & manufactured in Voi which supports local businesses.The entire community including the area chief attended the donation day , the need for conservation was emphasized. The donation came at the right time when the pupils needed seats. Some were sitting on bricks and logs. This will boost their learning environment and build a strong relationship between the de-snaring team & community. The community was very grateful and promised to support our conservation cause.

Iviani primary school

This school benefited with a school trip to Tsavo west national park. A total of 25 pupils visited the park in company of 2 teachers.During the trip the pupils visited Shetani lava, Mzima Springs, Chaimu, RhinoValley, and Ngulia bandas. The trip was educational and the need for wildlife conservation was emphasized.

Kikwasuni primary school

This school was taken on a trip to Tsavo west national park was aimed at enhancing conservation knowledge to the students. The kids enjoyed the trip thoroughly, it was their first visit into the park. They visited the main attraction sites like Shetani lava, Mzima springs, Chaimu hill, Rhino valley, and Ngulia bandas.

Nguumo secondary school video show

The Mtito & Chyulu teams jointly held a video show at Nguumo secondary school, near Kibwezi forest. The target group was the youth who are normally influenced by ending up getting involved with illegal activities. During the event the need to conserve natural resources was emphasized.

Report by James Mbuthia.