Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 September 2008

Duma Team Chyulu Update: 01 September 2008

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Participants:

James Mbuthia – team leader Julius Kyalo David Wambua Isaiah Ndei Daniel Lekoiten Joseph Kariuki 2 KWS rangers

Area of operation:

During the month of July the Chyulu team patrolled the following areas: Umani, Kenze, Kiboko, Makindu, Mukurulo, Kanani, Tsavo West, and Satellite area.

ARRESTS 3 280 SNARES COLLECTED

UMAMI/ KENZE AREA: The team patrolled in the Umani area concentrating mainly on the Kibwezi forest. 32 snares were lifted in the Forrest all of which targeted bush bucks. This animal seems to be the main target of poachers in Kibwezi forest. While patrolling the team intercepted a gang of 4 wood carvers heading to Chyulu, via Umani springs to fetch water. They were in company of one bush meat poacher in possession of 19 snares. Upon interrogation we discovered that poachers regularly sell bush meat to the wood carvers camped in the Forrest.

KIBOKO/ MAKINDU AREA The Makindu spring is a vital lifeline for both wildlife and humans in the area. At the spring area we found devastating environmental destruction mainly consisting of snaring and charcoal burning. We lifted 23 snares targeting animals heading for a drink at the springs. A major concern for us is the vulnerability of the Rhinos that roam the area in search of water. The Team patrolled the Kiboko area lifting 125 snares. These snares were targeting small to medium game such as waterbucks, hartebeest, and Dikdik. The team felt this patrol was a success as normally the poachers set the snares and lift them again the next day, hence our timing to patrol the area was perfect as the snares were only recently set and we set the poachers back by allot of equipment and managed to save allot of wildlife.

MUKURULO / KANANI AREA The team patrolled Kanani which is a well known hot spot for poaching. The animals’ movements are much more predictable in dry season as they tend to congregate near the water points. Hence we too concentrated on these areas. The team noticed an increase in wildlife presence due to our persistence in tackling poaching in the area, thereby transforming the area into a safe heaven for the wildlife. The team noticed some remnants of sandalwood that could have been harvested several days prior to our patrols in the area. We have come to believe that business is going on in the very secretive manner and we need to concentrate our efforts to investigate this possibility. The team lifted 5 snares in this area.

TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK The team patrolled the Tsavo West Park and camped at Kamboyo camp site. While patrolling Mangelete area we managed to lift 47 snares targeting buffaloes. 2 fresh snared buffalo carcasses were found.

The team decided to lay ambush on the poachers who were expected to come and check on their catch. Unfortunately the poachers did not turn up. The team them moved on to patrolling the Kilaguni area and lifted 12 snares targeting large game like buffaloes. It was in this area that the team spotted a wild orphaned elephant calf whose mother is believed to have been poached. The team patrolled the Triangle of Tsavo East around Kyusiani and lifted 18 snares targeting small game like Dikdik. The team nearly caught a poacher who unfortunately escaped.

SATELLITE AREA The patrol in this area was a great success. One bush meat poacher was arrested caught in the act of setting snares.

The Team spotted him from an observation point. This particular poacher had managed to escape us in previous pursuits. 18 large snares targeting Elands were lifted. This area is a hotspot for snaring and the team is planning to patrol regularly here.

ANIMAL SIGHTINGS. The animals have increased in numbers around Mukurulo; this area has flourished and is looking very scenic. The team spotted allot of herd animals like hartebeest, Zebra, elands etc. The team is going to intensify its patrols here to prevent poachers from encroaching on the increasing wildlife. At the camp there was also a notable increase in wildlife. Jim Simon said “for some years we have not seen animals coming to the pool, but we are happy that we have seen bush bucks before we leave”. The Teams main concern is to stop the poachers from moving after the wildlife that is flourishing here.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS

SOTO PRIMARY SCHOOL DESKS PRESENTATION- CHYULU In pursuit of our goal to enhance community conservation awareness the Trust works closely with the communities that neighbour the National Parks. The project is of a participatory and transparent nature allowing all stakeholders to be involved in projects to better their own lives. The project is designed to address the plight of people living in poverty and to enhance environmental education among the local communities, mainly targeting schools. The desk donation project aids in providing schools with appropriate educational environment for the students. Most of the children in this impoverished area do not have desks or chairs to sit on. The children normally sit on the floor to study. The desks will provide the children with much needed learning environment and a comfortable place to sit, read, draw & write. The desk donation event was held at Soto Primary School. The community leaders including the Chief were present and showed great gratitude. The Chief declared that the community is committed to participating in conservation efforts in the area. Emphasis was placed o protecting natural resources and wildlife.

VISIT TO AREA MP AND DSITRICT COMMISSIONER TO UMANI /KIBWEZI FOREST The area Member of Parliament Mr. Professor Kaloki and district commissioner of the Kibwezi district visited Kibwezi forest to witness the extent of the environmental degradation caused in the forest. The negative environmental effects in the forest are beginning to be felt by the local community. The primary concern was the decreasing water level at the springs. Apparently the water from Kibwezi, Kiundwani, Machinery, Kambu, and Mtito towns is drawn via pipes from the Umani springs. Many of the pies have dried up forcing people to walk long distances to fetch water. This has lead to public outcry amongst the local population. The Kibwezi forest management has neglected their duties which have lead to further degradation of the forest. There has been excessive issuing of licenses to locals to have access to dry wood from the forest. A variety of illegal activities were sighted including snaring, charcoal burning, logging, wood carving, and illegal lorry tracks leading to the forest were sighted. After witnessing the environmental problems in the forest the 2 leaders committed to ensuring better and more thorough management will be implemented. The issuing of licenses for wood collection will be put on hold to avoid any further degradation. It was noted that charcoal burning, logging and wood carving is not sustainable and must be stopped. Alternative sources of energy must be found and tree planting activities started. The MP promised to support our conservation efforts to protect the Umani Springs.

ANIMALS AT THE UMANI SPRINGS CAMP Since the teams’ presence and patrols in this area the wildlife has begun to increase. Various herds and birds were sighted. The Trust is in the process of acquiring Umani Springs Camp located in the heart of Kibwezi forest. The main objective is to protect the forest from further environmental degradation and prevent loss of habitat and biodiversity. The last remaining elephant herds in the Chyulu area reside to the forest for protection. The desnaring team is camped and operating from the camp to patrol the forest. The Team has noticed more wildlife congregating near the camp.

KIBOKO PRIMARY SCHOOL The team organized to take the Kiboko Primary School on a trip to the Tsavo West National park. This was their second trip. During the trip the students visited the Shetani Lava, Mzima Springs, Chaimu, Roaring Rocks, Rhino Valley, and Ngulia Bandas. The students had an educational day, learning about wildlife & the different natural habitats animals require. The trips aim was to raise awareness and support of conservation of natural resources for future benefits.

NGULUNI PRIMARY SCHOOL On the 25th of September the Nguluni Primary School was taken on a school trip to Tsavo West National Park. The students visited the Shetani Lava, Mzima Springs, Chaimu, Roaring Rocks, Rhino Valley, and Ngulia Bandas. The trip definitely had a permanent impact on the students particularly as they learn to enjoy the wildlife and learn more about the natural environment and its importance to human society.

CHYULU COMMUNITY VISIT TO ITHUMBA On the 26th of September Nduti Community visited the Northern area to go and visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts orphaned elephants.

This was in effort to enhance conservation awareness amongst the community members. The community received a lecture from Benjamin who is the head keeper in Ithumba about elephant behaviour and importance of conservation and saw the orphans at the mudbath.
During their visit they saw the fence project designed to decrease human-wildlife conflict. The trip left a permanent impression on the local people especially their perception on elephant and other animals.

Report by James Mbuthia