Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 April 2008

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 April 2008

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Sylvester Matheka Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Peter Ndungu 2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included the general Gazi area, Buffalo bent, the Power line, Umauma, Tundani, Kyamanyenze, the Kasaala fence line, Kanziko, Kalovoto and Mathae.

65 SNARES COLLECTED 2 ARRESTS

Findings During the month of April the team was able to lift a total of 65 snares all of which targeted small game. We were also able to arrest two poachers as they crossed the Athi River into the park.

The two offenders were booked at Mutomo police station. We have noticed a drastic drop in the number of snares being lifted during the month’s patrols. There has also been a decline in the in the amount of illegal activities taking place. This however does not mean that poaching is not taking place as the poachers could have simply changed their tactics and methods.

Gazi general area During the first week of the month we supervised the casuals who are clearing the road from the Athi river fence junction and further downstream.

The area was difficult to clear as the road had not been used for over 20 years and the bushes were over grown. The area being cleared is where the extension of the Northern fence line will be erected in order to prevent elephants from crossing into the community land and destroying the crops. In the previous this area was a charcoal burning and logging hotspot with numerous kilns being found and destroyed.

Buffalo bent During the second week of our operations we combined road clearing supervision with our desnaring activities. On the first day of our patrols we arrested two poachers just after they had crossed the river into the park. The poachers were in possession of 2 knives, a panga, bows, two poisoned arrows, axes and other personal items.

One of the poachers had been arrested in 2006 for snaring in the same area. During the second day of our patrols we lifted 14 snares all of which targeted small game. Numerous footprints were seen. Due to our constant patrols in the area we have found that there has been an increase in the number of wildlife being seen, including elephants.

Kasaala fence line and the power line During the third week of the month we moved our activities to the Ithumba area. We patrolled along the power line where we lifted 27 snares, all but one targeting small game. The increase in the number of snares being lifted in this area is due to the fact that there are more animals in the area due to the shortness of the vegetation which makes it easier for the animals to see their predators.

Kalovoto and Mathae There were few illegal activities noted during our patrols in these areas. At the Kalovoto stream we lifted 22 snares all of which targeted small game. Kaymanyenze, Kanziko and Tundai were also quiet. It is worth nothing that with the April rains there has been an increase in the amount of vegetation and water holes in the area, making it difficult for the poachers to know where to set their snares, as the animals are scattered all over the area. Furthermore the poachers are busy tending to their farms and planting their crops.

Community Awareness Over the years we have built a rapport with the Kasaala community which has enabled us to see the changes taking place within the community. Since January there have been several elephants that have remained in the Kasaala community area despite several attempts being made to drive them back into the park including cutting a section of the fence line and uprooting some posts.

The elephants have been living peacefully with the people in the area, with one of the elephants giving birth to a calf which is doing very well. It is interesting to note that the bush/farm that these elephants frequent for water happens to be near the homes of two seasoned elephant poachers. However due to our constant presence in the area they feel that they are being watched and have not tried to harm the elephants in any way.

Report by Patrick Mutuku