Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 October 2008

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 October 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 October the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Umani, Kenze, Tsavo West National Park, the Triangle and Kiboko.

ARRESTS 10

151SNARES COLLECTED

UMANI/ KENZE AREA: Due to the illegal activities going on in these areas the team decided to revisit them this month. Kenze hill can be found in the forest and it has been completely degraded by charcoal burners.

During our patrols 30 bags of Charcoal were confiscated and destroyed as were numerous charcoal kilns.
The presence of our desnaring team in the area has frustrated the charcoal burners who have caused there to be a loss of forest cover due to their commercialization of the charcoal product which has increased in demand. Now that the Chyulu desnaring team has began patrolling the forest many charcoal burners have stopped their charcoal burning activities. Furthermore as the team is now strategically located at Umani we were able to arrest 7 charcoal burners at the Lee ward side of Umani Hill.
All of the culprits were booked at the Kibwezi police station. The team was also able to arrest a bush meat poacher who was in possession of 28 snares all of which targeted medium sized game.
The area is also a poaching hotspot with both the bushbuck and forest hog being under constant threat from poachers. During its patrols along the water pipeline the team was able to lift 34 snares all targeting medium sized game.

TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK After its patrols at Umani and Kenze the desarning team, following a request from the senior warden, moved its antipoaching activities to Tsavo West National Park. The team’s main objective was to increase security patrols in the area following the release of several rhinos. Snaring is a major problem in the park, and as snares are indiscriminate, we had to make sure that there were no snares in the area. The team was based at Chyulu campsite which was central to the poaching hotspots. During our patrols 4 sets of footprints originating from Nthongoni were seen. The footprints headed in the direction of Mzima springs, which means that the poachers could have also gone to Maktau or the Manda hills both of which are green and are abundant in wildlife. Upon following the footprints the team came across the carcass of an elephant. The tusks had been removed from the carcass by the poachers.

The team came across another elephant carcass near the Chyulu gate. A dead snared bushbuck was also seen.
We followed the poacher’s footprints which led us to the Ziwani/Tsavo River, where they crossed over. Unfortunately we then lost track of them. Poaching is constantly on the increase which means that we also have to increase our desnaring operations. A lone baby elephant was seen near Severin Camp.
We assume that the orphans’ mother must have been killed by poachers. During our patrols we also came across a poachers shooting platform.

TRIANGLE T. EAST The team moved its antipoaching activities from Tsavo West to Tsavo East. On the first day of our patrols at Kanga we were able to arrest a poacher in possession of 16 snares.

The individual had crossed the Mtito River from Makutano which is to the south of Darajani. We were able to establish that he is living at a local brew den in the Nguumo area which is known for harboring poachers who operate in the Triangle which continues to be a poaching hotspot. The following day we were able to lift 46 snares in the area.

KIBOKO Our patrol in this area was an impromptu visit to what we consider to be a poaching hotspot. James Mbuthia, the Chyulu team leader, received a tip off from an informer about a poacher who had been operating along the Klinyet River. The team responded to the tip off and was able to intercept the individual who was in possession of 20 kilos of Bush meat that he was taking to sell in Kiboko town.

He was made to lift the 43 snares that he had set all of which targeted medium sized game. The arrest was a boost to the teams’ morale as he had eluded us for several months. The culprit was booked at Kibwezi police station.

ANIMAL SIGHTINGS During the months patrols an abundance of wildlife was seen especially in Tsavo West. The animals seen included buffaloes, elephants and giraffes.

Elands, forest hogs and bushbucks were among the animals seen during our patrols in the Chyulus. It is important to note that during the dry season there is less vegetation in the park for the wildlife which means that they congregate around water points where the browse is greener and richer. We therefore concentrated our patrols around these areas.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS

TSAVO WEST CONSERVATION RALLY On the 4th of October the team leader was invited to address a conservation rally being held in Tsavo West National Park. The objective of the rally was to highlight the effects of the degradation that is being felt due to the degradation of the environment. Many schools and communities that neighbor the park and WCK patrons attended the rally and listed to the various speakers. The event was successful and we feel that many people heard what we had to say and will increase their conservation efforts.

KITHASYO DESK PRESENTATION During the month of October 30 desks were donated to Kithasyo Primary school. The donation was much needed by the school which has an acute shortage of desks for their students.

The school is one of several schools being helped by the Trust. The communities that have so far received help from the Trust have show a positive change in their attitude towards conservation and protecting their natural resources.

VIDEO SHOWS Video shows have become a very important conservation tool. Their impact on the lives of people can be traced from the attendance level witnessed by the team members.

In the month of October Musyini Primary school, which is close to the Kibwezi forest, benefited from a Video show.

Report by James Mbuthia