2 KWS Rangers
During the course of this month the areas covered included Tundani, Kyae rock, the power line, Kasaala fence line, Umbi, Lagga kugu, Kalovoto, Kanziko, Shimo la shetani and Mathae.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 77
The team concentrated its patrols along the Kasaala fence line laying more emphasis on the open areas. Due the rains the whole of the Tsavo East Northern area is very bushy with thick canopies of leafy vegetation.
The animal populations are concentrated along the roads and open grasslands. The predators have also followed their prey with lions, which are usually found near the Tiva River, being spotted near the Ithumba park headquarters.
The month of December showed a decline in illegal human activities taking place inside the park, which is a contrast to the same period last year when the poachers flocked to the park in search of bush meat. A reason for the decline shown this year is the vigilant and effective patrols carried out by the team as well as the onset of the rains which means people are busy tending to their farms. During the rainy season the animals are scattered all over the park. The fact that the entire area is covered in dense vegetation makes it difficult for poachers to carry out their illegal activities. The rains during this period have been short and erratic with little water flow to the big rivers such as the Tiva and the Athi. We were able to arrest a fisherman along the Athi.
We began our patrols in the Umbi area where we lifted 5 snares targeting large game. Umbi was generally quiet with no signs of logging taking place which is usually the most illegal activity in the area. There were no signs of poachers along the Kasaala fence line. On the 12th we came along evidence of a poacher who had been in the park. We followed his footprints and were able to lift 72 small snares.
Due to the fact that there are a large number of animals in the open areas of the park we carried out patrols along the power line from the Kasaala fence line up to the Tiva River so as to discourage poachers from setting any snares. We also patrolled all the other areas and apart from Shimo la shetani and Lagga kungu, where we found two sets of footprints, the areas were calm and yielded no snares.
COMMUNITY AWARENESS We visited Tsavo primary school, Kaluluini primary school, Kivuti primary school, Kavete primary school, and Kimweli primary school to remind them to register their schools with the wildlife clubs of Kenya by early January so as to be ready to partake in the school trips into the park that are carried out by our desnaring team as part of our community awareness activities. We also held several meetings with the youth football clubs and lectured them about teh need to put more emphasis on conservation issues such as the destruction of vegetation and charcoal burning.
The football clubs requested more sporting equipment such as balls, nets and uniforms which they need and are in short supply of.
Report by Patrick Mutuku