Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 November 2008

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 November 2008

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Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Noah Lesmirdana Julius Kyalo David Wambua Isaiah Ndei Daniel Lekoiten Kenneday Mungai 2 KWS rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of November the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Kiboko, the Kibwezi forest, Corner Tatu, and the Satellite areas.

ARRESTS 4 157 SNARES COLLECTED

KIBOKO AREA While based at Kiboko the team patrolled the sanctuary extensively and did not come across any snares. We did however see a lot of wildlife. The reason for the lack of snares in the area could be due to the fact that it is close to a ranger’s camp which means that the poachers have difficulty getting in undetected. The team then patrolled the area along the Klinyet River where we lifted 135 small and medium sized snares.

This area is considered to be a snaring hotspot frequented by poachers who take advantage of the fact that the animals come into the area in search of water. Last month the team was able to arrest a poacher operating in the area and we believe that there are many more operating in KARI and the ranches. The team then moved its patrols to towards the Dojini hill area where we arrested 4 individuals, 3 were charcoal burners and one was a wood carver.
Several bags of charcoal were confiscated and destroyed. Since the onset of the rains we believed that there would be a decline in poaching as people would be busy tending their farms, however as the lamping season has begun this is not necessarily the case as poachers will now change their operating methods, which means that the team will have to do the same in order to apprehend the culprits.

KIBWEZI FOREST After its patrols in the Kiboko area the team moved to the Kibwezi forest where it lifted 32 snares targeting medium sized game. The snares were found on the south eastern side of the forest. The team came across a bush buck that had become trapped in a snare. The bush buck was still alive and we were able to remove it from the snare.

Sadly however the snare had caused excessive damages to the bush buck’s back paralyzing it. We tried to do everything that we could but it did not survive.
We have found that lately, due to our presence in the area the poachers have been changing their tactics and have taken to operating further away from the Umani springs camp.

SATELLIETE/CORNER TATU Our patrols in these areas were clearance patrols that were carried out in order to make our presence felt.

In the past these areas have been synonymous with poaching, but this month no signs of the illegal activity were seen. The team has had reports that Maasai herdsmen have been moving their cattle towards the park to browse, as thanks to the rains the area is lush with vegetation. However no one was seen during the time we spent in the area.

ANIMAL SIGHTINGS During the months patrols it was noticed that most of the animals have moved form the Chyulus to the ranches. This is an event that occurs seasonally as there is an abundant amount of browse for the animals in the ranches during the rainy season. The ungulates are in higher numbers in those areas with Zebras, Hartebessts and Bushbucks being seen.

ADMINISTRATOR’S CONSERVATION WORKSHOP The administrator’s conservation workshop was held at CBS AMREF Kibwezi center on Friday the 21st of November. The workshop was organized by KWS and its main objective was to reach out to the administrative part of the government in an effort to get them to help with their community outreach program.

As members of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust we were invited to the event to officially introduce ourselves to the administration. We prepared a power point which was shown to everyone that attended the workshop.

THE AGENDA’S AND CONCLUSION OF THE WORKSHOP The agendas that dominated the workshop were the conservation of the Chyulu catchment areas and the future of the Kibwezi forest. The administrators, which included the District Commissioner, the District officers, the Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs, were told about the challenges and threats facing the Chyulu catchment area. There was a general consensus that there is a high rate of deforestation which has resulted in water reduction. The workshop concluded by deciding to act on the below: 1. To include the administration in the conservation of the Chyulu catchment area and identifying people involved in illegal activities in the Chyulu conservation area. 2. Each chief in conjunction with conservation organizations like the DSWT is to establish a nursery in their location. 3. In order for administration officers to familiarize themselves with the challenges in the area a tour to the park will be organized for them in the near future

SCHOOL TRIPS Two schools benefited from excursions into Tsavo West National Park. The pupils visited Shetani lava, Mzima springs and Chaimu hill.

The trips were educative as well as enjoyable as the children learnt about a variety of wildlife. The students got to see elephants, zebras, giraffe, buffalo, hippos and fish among other animals.
The trips are very popular with the schools resulting in more schools wanting to work closely with us and support us in our conservation efforts.

TREE PLANTING The planting of tree seedlings was done in two schools both of which are rather barren and have little shade. The pupils were shown how to plant and tend to seedlings thus getting them involved in conservation as they are the future custodians of the environment.

A main priority for us is to change the ideas that the communities have about charcoal burning which is an every increasing problem and a great threat to the habitat and the environment.

Report by James Mbuthia