Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 December 2008

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 December 2008

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya 2 KWS Rangers – Solomon Kukutia and Peter Mwanzia

Areas Covered

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.

We patrolled the areas for a while after which we received a report about bandits having entered the park at Galama and Kone. We therefore relocated and began patrolling the park boundary. Other than these reports there were no illegal activities seen by the team in these areas. The tea came across a lot of wildlife including giraffes, impalas, lesser kudu, and warthogs while patrolling the Kiasa and Grunade valley areas.

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.

This was found about a kilometer from where we had found another elephant carcass in July. Hyenas had eaten all the flesh from the dead elephant, leaving only the bones behind.
We saw several older elephants during our patrols in the Mathae areas and also came across wild dogs around the Imenti waterhole.
The wild dogs must consider this area to be their territory as they are often seen here. A lone buffalo was seen around the Tiva River in the Kyamanyenze area where the team lifted 5 small inactive snares.

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.

12 elephants had managed to get past the fence and into the community areas at Umbi. They had made several attempts at night to cross back into the park at the Kanziko gate. During our patrols around Kalovoto we came across the carcass of another elephant whose carcass had been covered by cut branches. The tusks had been removed.
The team was able to lift 42 small snares in the area, finding a dead Dikdik in one of the snares.
Fresh footprints led us to the set snares but unfortunately the poachers had already left the area.

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.

Unfortunately during our patrols we also uncovered some tusks that had been buried in the river bed.
Poachers often hide the tusks in the sandy river beds as it is easy for them to dig them out at a later date.
A lone buffalo was seen at the park headquarters and would not leave the area, even after being chased. It eventually left of its own accord after a period of two days.

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