Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 September 2007

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 September 2007

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CHYULU TEAM

De – Snaring Report for September 2007

Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo Nasarwa Esimegele David Wambua Isaiah Ndei 4 KWS Rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of June the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Mukurulo, K.A.R.I, Kithasyu, Metava, Satellite, and Kisula.

ARRESTS 4 SNARES 123

FINDINGS

House Construction

At the beginning of the month the team spent 2 weeks in Mukurulo. Since the park gets very wet towards the end of the rainy season the Team stayed close to shelter and storage space for the equipment. The team oversaw the construction of 2 houses for the use of storage during the wet seasons.

Snaring

While at Mukurulo, the team patrolled KARI area which is a poaching hotspot. 32 snares targeting medium to large game were lifted.

This area lies outside the Park boundaries hence has proved a problem area due to conflict of interest between conservation efforts and the community. We found the remains of poached Eland and Hartebeest. The Team also found a snared Dikdik, which luckily was still alive so we set it free.
The poachers are increasingly using bow and arrow poaching methods which is much more difficult to control than snaring. We found footprint of poacher groups of about 5-6 moving into the park to poach. Other techniques also involve lamping at night which has forced our team to operate both day and night. The team leader is working closely with the Community to establish a good relationship between the team and the community to gain more support from them regarding our work. In general they are co-operating and informing us of any illegal activities taking place which has increased our efficiency on the ground.

The wildlife moves out of the park to get to water in these areas therefore the loss of wildlife to poaching during the dry season is enormous. A concrete and permanent solution to the problem needs to be asserted. A possible solution would be to construct water troughs in the park to keep the wildlife from moving out to search for water. The tractor at Mukurulo can ferry the water to the troughs. The majority of the poachers in the Satellite area come from the Metava area. Our informers gave us some details as to the movements of the poachers in the area. We also received a tip off that the bush meat was being sold in the village. We got a team of KWS Rangers and we set some ambushes to await the culprits. We arrested 3 poachers in possession of game meat, 4 snares, 3 arrows and a bow.

We feel this method of poaching is trickier to tackle and is a pattern seen increasingly among poachers. Kisula area is a hotspot for illegal wood carving. Unfortunately the team made no arrests upon their patrols there despite sings of activity.

During patrols in Satellite, the team lifted 24 snares targeting big game.

One poacher was also arrested; he was caught red-handed setting snares. This same poacher was one we were after in July, he had set a huge amount of snares and managed to escape. Upon interrogation he told us he operates with a big network of poachers who have been operating long and were not together at that time. The team continued to patrol at the base of the hills and lifted a further 99 snares.

Cattle Grazing

Cattle grazing activities are taking place, mainly by the Maasai herdsmen. We drove out over 1000 head of cattle from within the park.

Park Fires

The team had a hard time fighting off fires set deliberately to drive wildlife out for poaching. This temporarily stopped our desnaring and patrol operations. Those animals that fled the fires were watched by the team to keep them from falling victims to poaching. The team feels that there needs to be an organized & well managed fire burning process in the park. Firebreaks need to be made early enough before such occurrences arise.

Report by James Mbuthia