Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 December 2006

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 December 2006

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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: Kasaala Fence line, Kyae rock, Tundani, Mathae, along the Tiva River and the Powerline.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 0

Findings

The month of December was marked by heavy rains both inside and outside of Tsavo National Park. The Tiva burst its banks and reached levels which have never been recorded, not even during the El-Nino rains. Infact one day we recorded 82mm of rainfall. The road network inside the park has been rendered impassable due to it either being waterlogged or completely washed away. It is work to note that the road had been graded in October 2006.

In our November report we mentioned a group of bandits causing problems in the park. The bandit’s presence in the park continued for the first 3 weeks of December. As such the de-snaring team could not get any rangers to help with our patrols as they were needed in the bandit operation. However we did not let this stop us and we conducted whatever vehicle patrols the heavy rains would allow and reopened roads that had been blocked by fallen trees.

During our patrols we noted a significant decline in illegal human activities in the park which could be attributed to any of the following, the poachers/villagers are busy cultivating their farms, the vegetation is thick hindering their poaching activities, the animals are scattered and not congregated in certain areas as in the dry season.

However in the coming months we anticipate an increase in illegal human activities ranging from honey hunting, to snaring and logging which we are prepared to counter. The only hindrance could be the roads which are now in a poor state. In the third week of the month we were joined by the KWS rangers. We patrolled along the fenceline but little illegal activity was noticed. We then camped at the Mukua Nima park boundary for three days where we managed to arrest one poacher who was fishing inside the park at the Athi River.

Unfortunately a second poacher was able to evade arrest.

Community Awareness Campaign

During the month of December the schools are closed and the students are on vacation so we were unable to show them any wildlife films. However we managed to keep the youth busy by organizing football matches.

We organized two football competitions for boys and girls, during which we also took the opportunity to sensitize them about wildlife conservation.

On 15/12/06 the Ithumba team leader visited a local radio station called Radio Mangelete who broadcast in Kikamba. They conducted an interview with him about the Sheldrick’s conservation work and aired the interview twice during the month. Our intention is to reach a bigger and wider audience so that in due course we will have sensitized the community about the need to conserve wildlife and the environment.

The primary schools in the area are requesting field trips into the Park. We hope to be able to conduct trips in 2007 and plan to organize cleanups at the Ikutha and Kasaala market centers

Report by Patrick Mutuku