Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 April 2007

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 April 2007

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Rajab Hamisi 2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered were: the Gazi airstrip, Kona ya Nyati, Cottars, the general Yatta area and the Nthalakana airstrip.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 61 ARRESTS 4

Findings

The first week of the month the de-snaring team camped at the Mkua-nima park boundary. The road leading to the proposed extension of the Kasaala fence line on top of the Yatta was in bad shape.

Construction materials have to be transported to the site via the same road. From the Ikutha/Kibwezi road it is a stretch of 26 kilometers. The sections which needed attention had protruding stones which had to be leveled. There was a section from the park boundary to the Gazi airstrip which had to be opened afresh by digging and removing big rocks.
We hired 10 casuals for 19 days and the work was completed as planned. It is now possible to drive without the fear of damaging the underside of the vehicles. The local community cooperated with the team as the disused road also crisscrosses through their farms.

During the second week of the month the team set out on a de-snaring exercise which started from the Mkua-Nima park boundary. Along the park boundary we observed that people are entering the park in order to cut building materials for building food stores. Charcoal burning is prevalent both inside and outside the park. Some people enter the park in order to cut trees into small portable pieces and then transport it out of the park for charcoal burning.

At the Gazi general area we observed a lot of footprints which points towards the taking place of illegal human activities. Two daring poachers followed us to our camp and proceeded to camp 50 meters from us. In the morning we saw their footprints and followed them leading to the arrest of the two poachers atop the Yatta.

The individuals claimed that they had been heading to the river for fishing. One of the poachers was a Tatia and the other a Kamba. They were booked at Mutomo police station. As we moved further down the Athi River we noted less human activities.

The area around the Tsavo safari camp was calm. However as we moved to the general Yatta area we noted an increase in he number of footprints, some of which crossed over ours. We tracked the footprints but were not able to arrest anyone. We proceeded to patrol the Sheldricks blind and the Nthalakana airstrip.

On the 24/4/07 we received a radio message from Mutha about 3 poachers who had entered the park and only two of them exited. The area chief was alerted and he reported the situation to the police to in turn reported it to KWS Mutha outpost. The two poachers claimed that their colleague died of dehydration after walking for 3days and nights.

The police followed up and returned to the Ithumba park headquarters on the 28/4/07. The de-snaring team, the northern area Warden, the police and the two poachers searched the Ndia-Ndasa area. 700 meters from the road as we crossed the lagga-Kungu we found the poachers decomposing body. The other two poachers had placed his body in the tree and hidden his boy and four poisoned arrows.
They had left him there when they went to inform his family of what had happened. The poachers claimed that they had entered the park in search of honey. Their story is highly unbelievable as they were carrying weapons that are used for poaching such as bows, poisoned arrows and axes. Secondly once their water was finished they moved further into the park rather then returning to the community areas. Furthermore there have been no cases of honey hunting at Nida-Ndasa due to the lack of baobab trees which is where bees usually build their hives.
It is suspected that a deal between the poachers went sour and the dead man was either killed by his colleagues or killed by an enraged animal.

Report by Patrick Mutuku