Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 January 2008

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 January 2008

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku Mutua Koti Lemanten Lambarakwe James Lodungokiyok Musau Kitulya Peter Ndungu 2 KWS Rangers

Areas Covered

During the course of this month the areas covered included Mathae, the power line, Kasaala fence line, Lagga-Kugu, Kanziko, Kyamanyenze, Nthalakana, the General Yatta area, Buffalo bend.

TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 53

Findings

The month of January started with desnaring operations at Mukua Nima. This is the area where last year the extension of the fence line was carried out from the Tiva River to the Athi River in the Northern part of Tsavo. We received a report that a group of elephants had gone around the fence into the community side at Kibwezi. The elephants were chased away and they crossed the river entering the community area at Mukua-Nima. However the group got separated with some of them ending up on the wrong side of the fence line which acted as a barrier preventing them from joining the rest of the herd.

Over a period of three days we tried to drive them back across the fence which proved to be a task in futility. Unfortunately they had damaged the farmer’s crops and the local community was very unhappy.
In the end we had to deploy rangers, trained on problematic animal control to deal with the situation.

We continued on our patrols on the 15th of January along the Kasaala fence line where we lifted 6 snares targeting small game. We were able to rescue a Dikdik that had become trapped in a snare.

While on patrol at Lagga-kugu we found fresh footprints that had been concealed by the overgrow grass. The rains in the area were moderate which means that the vegetation in the area is lush and overgrown. We noted that there is a minimal amount of human activity taking place inside the park.

On the 18th of January, while patrolling along the fence line across from the Tiva River we cam across three fresh footprints on an often used route. We followed the footprints for 3 consecutive days only to find that they led to the other side of Kibwezi. We did manage to find 9 snares that had been left behind by some poachers. This time of year is very popular among honey hunters and we therefore believe that most of the footprints that we came across belonged to honey hunters rather than poachers.

After ensuring that there were minimal illegal activities taking place around the park we moved our desnaring activities to the Yatta area where the vegetation is thick, thus hindering the poachers. During our patrols around the Thalakana airstrip we came across a fresh set of footprints around the Thalakana caves. However a heavy downpour lasting the entire day hindered our operations and washed away the footprints. We visited the same area the next day and were able to lift 36 snares.

As we moved from Tsavo safari camp towards Buffalo bend we came across a few incidences of illegal activities. We found footprints, which we followed and found that they belonged to some loggers operating in the area. We also managed to lift 2 snares targeting large game. It is important to note that generally there has been a decline in the amount of snaring and other illegal activities taking place which could be attributed to the constant presence of the desnaring team in the areas. There has also been a change in the weather where over the past two years the drought that was being experienced in these areas has broken and they have received enough rains to enable them to sustain a good harvest, thus keeping them busy in their farms.

COMMUNITY AWARENESS We visited Tsavo primary school, Kasaala primary school, Kimweli primary school, and Kavete primary school where we held talks with the Wildlife Club members. We also had a meeting with some reformed poachers who told us that they no longer enter the park to carry out illegal activities.

We also held meetings with the local community at Mukua-Nima in an effort to defuse the tension and anger caused when elephants invaded the farms and destroyed their crops.

Report by Patrick Mutuku