Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 December 2008
Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya 2 KWS Rangers – Solomon Kukutia and Peter Mwanzia
During the course of this month the areas covered included Nthalakana, Kiasa, Sheldrick blind, Thabanguji, Tundani, Mach-kobo, Kyamanyenze, Mathae, the Powerline, Wamata, Bisadi, Kanziko, Kalovoto, Lagga-kugu and Umbi.
47 SNARES COLLECTED
Findings During the month of November the Ithumba team lifted 47 snares all of which targeted small game. The team and KWS have noticed that there has been an increase in the number of elephants that have been killed in the park over the past few months. The team concentrated its patrols around the water points as there was a lack in the amount of rainfall received with it having rained only once at the beginning of November, which means that most of the waterholes were empty. For this reason we found that many poachers had been erecting shooting platforms around the waterholes that still had water in them.
Nthalakana, Kiasa, Sheldrick Blind and Thabaguji The team began its patrols in the first week of the month by visiting the above areas. We received information that a group of 10 poachers armed with poisoned had been seen in the community areas preparing to enter the park. We immediately held a security meeting with the KWS dog section unit and moved in to the Gazi area in order to set up an ambush along the fenceline. The Ithumba de-snaring team moved to the Nthalakana and Kiasa area in order to set up a cut off point incase the poachers had already entered the park, in an effort to trap and apprehend them. However during our patrols of the area we did not come across any footprints or signs of human activity at either Nthalakana or Kiasa.
Tundani, Macho-kobo, Kyamanyenze, Mathae and the Powerline During the second week of the month we patrolled the Kasaala fenceline at the above areas. At Tundani and Macho-kobo we came across an elephant shooting platform. Near the power line we found the carcass of an elephant.
Kanziko, Lagga-kugu, Umbi and Kalovoto During our patrols at Kanziko and Umbi we found that the heavy rains experienced at the beginning of November had washed away the fence at Muvuko Lagga. The fence attendants based there had made efforts to put the fence back in place and had done so successfully.
Bisadi, Shetani eaves, Wamata A KWS pilot had reported seeing 5 dead elephants in the Bisadi and Masobo areas. The elephants had been spotted while he conducted aerial surveillance. The team was unable to get photos of the dead elephants due to the fact that there is a lack of roads making the area inaccessible to the team. The carcasses of another 2 elephants were seen at Ndia Ndasa and two bicycles were recovered. KWS set up an ambush, but were unfortunately seen by the poachers who were able to evade arrest. The carcass of an elephant was seen near the Lesilau water hole. The tusks had not been removed. While patrolling the Tiva River we saw many Marabou storks.
Community Awareness campaign A case of human wildlife conflict was reported to be taking place along the Athi River at the Mwakila area where a crocodile had eaten several goats from the communities in the area. We informed the community district warden, who is based at Mutomo, of the incident. He attended to the case and the crocodile was killed.
The area chief located in Kasaala has been cooperating with the team by giving us information about poachers operating in the area. A meeting was held with him to try and find a way to destabilize the ivory market in the area. The area chief has also been given some administration police who will assist him in putting up roadblocks that will be used to check the lorries that are carry charcoal and which are often used to transport ivory. We hope that this will lead to the arrest of poachers and help curb the poaching of elephants in the area.
Report by Patrick Mutuku