Area of operation
(Cut line) and opt to use the Yatta tracks to access Tiva and Tundani while some go very far inside the park. So far we have over-emphasized de-snaring on the areas the poachers are avoiding especially the Kasaala- kimweli and Tiva Tundani areas. This month and the coming months we intend to concentrate on the Yatta, Gazi- cottars, and Umbi.
Wambua Kikwatha - Team leader Patrick Mutuku - Team leader Francis Itumo - Assistant team leader Munyoki Kisangi - Track Martin Wambua - Cook Samuel Odero - Car guard
The month of February was marked by reduced human activities particularly snaring. Even though a greater part of the month was dedicated to community work the days set for desnaring yielded few snares. It has been proved that snaring at this period is at a minimal level thus the need for concerted efforts in community work. Starting April to November, snaring shoots up whereby we need to focus on desnaring with minimal community work. At this period the poachers have just harvested and majority don’t enter the park while those who enter do honey harvesting only.
During this month 165 snares were recovered all for small game. Most of the snares were old although active and some were inactive. Our rangers arrested a poacher with six small snares and honey. According to our informers, poachers avoid the area already guarded. Community Work
A greater part of this month was dedicated to community work. Previously, less attention has been accorded to community work because of the high rate of human activities in the park thus park operations taking much of our time. Harvesting season is the ideal time for community work because many poachers are at home and would benefit from the awareness. A series of community meetings took place covering five locations. The meetings created a good opportunity to interact with the communities and talk about conservation. The meetings enabled the people to open up and talk freely about their experiences with the park and the animals. The issue of the proposed fence was introduced in a bid to buy their will and full participation in the project. This would ensure the projects sustainability. Five committees were formed to oversee community conservation matters. Our team will work closely with these committees who will help us in community mobilization.
Besides the communities targeted previously, this month we extended our community area to Kanziko location where we visited Simisi sublocation and Ilamba sublocation. We will however undertake a survey to determine the schools and other groups in the area. Youth groups were also included in the month’s activities. We visited eight youth clubs from Kasaala location. Four teams were given three footballs, one volleyball and a net each. Next month, we will give the remaining four clubs three footballs each. At the moment we have no volleyballs and nets to give the clubs. The remaining balls and nets will be given to Kasaala secondary school.
During this month, we showed wildlife films to four schools and to four football clubs. Early February, Mr. Moore visited our project area. We visited four schools namely Kivuti, Kimweli, Kisou primary schools and Kasaala secondary school. The schools and their involvement in conservation impressed them. They promised to help where possible.
On the 28th Feb, we visited the regional Wildlife Clubs of Kenya offices (WCK) at Kitui. The agenda of the meeting was to find ways of collaborating in community conservation education. They appreciated the idea of networking with them and promised to participate fully in our progammes and also to involve us in their progammes as well. It must be noted that we undertake similar projects with the same goal.
Next month we will bring all the schools together and have a joint function with the WCK officers. In May we are planning to undertake a Patrons training workshop organised by the desnaring teams but will invite professionals from other organizations.
Prepared by Wambua Kikwatha / Patrick Mutuku