James Mbuthia – team leader
2 KWS rangers
Area of operation:
During the month of September the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: K.A.R.I, Utu, Kikunduku, the Chyulu base, Tsavo East, Kanga, Kenani, Mangelete and around the Chyulu pump.
183 SNARES COLLECTED
A total of 183 snares were lifted during the month of September
and 9 people arrested for offences such as charcoal burning, Mira harvesting
and bushmeat poaching.
The month was relatively dry as the drought persisted and consequently there was a decrease in the amount of vegetation available. The biggest challenge that we faced this month was forest fires that were set by unknown arsonist at different locations in the park.
This deterred our operations. There is a need to define fire management procedures in the park, especially during the dry seasons.
The team patrolled the Kiboko River where 28 snares targeting large game were lifted.
The carcass of a snared zebra was seen.
We also spotted rhino footprints in a water hole near Dojini hill.
This means that there could be rhino remains near the Kiboko River, or it has become a rhino’s territory. The lack of water in the park could be a factor that has caused the rhino to move out of the protected areas.
We then moved our operations to the Utu area.
We were able to lift 32 snares from the Canaan area where a lot of Elands and Kongonis are found.
The poachers are using the fencing method to block the animal routes and thus snare the animals in specific areas. The team patrolled the Chyulu ranges on foot due to the inaccessibility of the area. It has become more apparent that there is a need to set up a good road work in the Chyulus. The poachers take advantage of the poor access to carry out their illegal activities.
We feel that the team has been successful in frustrating the poachers and hindering their activities. The number of arrests has declined over the months and we feel that this is due to our constant patrols and pressure on previous poaching hotspots. It has become evident that some poachers are operating in the ranches outside the park. We have noticed that since we began our operations the number of animals in the park have increased and during our patrols we see a larger variety and number of wildlife.
Later in the month the Chyulu de-snaring team joined forces with the Mtito de-snaring team to carry out a joint operation. The teams covered the Tsavo East triangle, Kenani, Kanga, Mangelete, Ngulia and the area around the Chyulu pump.
3 bushmeat poachers were arrested; one at Kenani and two near the Chyulu pump. The operation was successful.
CHARCOAL BURNING RAID
The first two days of September were very busy. A major operation was organized with the KWS, the local administration and the Chyulu de-snaring team, which targeted the charcoal burners and dealers along the Mombasa highway.
The operation started from the Kiboko River and continued to Kombi town and along the park boundary. The objective was to contain the problem of charcoal burning which threatens the park and its environs. As a combined force the group managed to confiscate over 600 bags of charcoal and made 14 arrests.
Report by James Mbuthia