Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 January 2007

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 January 2007

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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: Kalovoto, Kanziku, Tundani, Lagga-Kungu, Power-line, Kyamanyenze, along the Tiva River, and along the Kasaala fence line.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 46

Findings

The rains continued through the first week of the month. Despite the thickness of the bushes which rendered them un-penetrable we were able to reach several areas which we thought the poachers would not be able to reach by following their tracks and footsteps from the fence line.

The park and the surrounding community lands had been without sufficient rain for a long period so the heavy rains at the end of last year and the beginning of this were a welcome respite from the dry weather. However poaching is still taking place. The poachers are now targeting big game as it is difficult for them to locate the small game due to the denseness of the vegetation.

During our patrols along the fence line we came across fresh footprints. We mounted an ambush in the hope of apprehending the poacher who did not return. We were however able to lift 36 recently set snares that targeted small game. Although the levels of snaring have decreased this does not mean that poaching is not taking place as all the poachers have done is changed their poaching methods, switching from snaring to bows and arrows and night poaching.

The season for the hunt for honey in the park has also begun. We often found footprints in the park, and followed them thinking they may be a poachers, only to find out that they belonged to a honey gatherer. As the vegetation decreases we expect an increase in the level of poaching.

While patrolling the fence line we came across a dead vulturine guinea fowl which was probably killed while it flew across the wire strands.

We also found a dead porcupine along the Kasaala road that had been killed by a predator.
We have often seen leopards and prides of lions in the area.

The growth of the grass has proved to be a problem along the fence line.

The warden of the Northern area held a meeting with Sanyati, the desnaring team and the fence attendants to see what could be done to cut the grass back.
The Ithumba desnaring team assisted in the erecting of sign posts at the Ikutha Market and along the junction to Kanziku road in order to help visitors who are staying at the Ithumba camp find their way.
More sign posts will be erected at the Kasaala center, the Kasaala gate and at Kivuti road.

The team also surveyed a nature trail from the bandas to Ithumba Hill for visitors staying at Ithumba camp.

Community Awareness Campaign The primary schools have reopened following the December holidays. We were able to show wildlife films at Tsavo Primary and Ngwate Primary Schools.

At this time we also gave lectures to the pupils and their parents about wildlife conservation.
We also visited the DO and the Chiefs office to register our concern about community members harboring poachers from the Mutha area. Five primary schools were visited to see about taking the schools on fieldtrips into the park.

Report by Patrick Mutuku