Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 January 2010

Ndovu Team Ithumba Update: 01 January 2010

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Participants

Patrick Mutuku – Team Leader Musau Kitulya Labarakwe Lemanten Noah Lesirmadana James Lodungokiyok

Areas Covered

During the month of January the Ithumba Team patrolled the following areas: Tundani, Umauma, Tiva River, Wamata, and along the Kasaala fence line.

Findings

The first two weeks of the month the Team was on leave. On the 15th of January the Team members resumed working and began patrols. First patrolling the Tundani area as most areas were water logged due to the recent rains and some roads had been washed away.

On the 17th the team patrolled the fence line together with the fence attendants and participated in some maintenance work on the fence. A total of twelve snares were collected along the fence line.
Poaching and Human-wildlife conflict remains high in the Northern area of Tsavo. This month a leopard was brutally killed due to human wildlife conflict.

Training on data sheets and GPS equipment

On the 18th of January the Team Leaders of all the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts’ Teams met at Voi for a 2 day meeting to get training on the new Database the Trust is developing. This database can be used with GIS software (Geographical Information System) that will allow for reporting and map production on data collected in the field. All Teams have been collecting data from the field regarding illegal activities and wildlife distributions which is entered into the database. The aim of the meeting was to smooth out any problems the field personnel experience with the data sheets and demonstrate the capabilities of the database and the mapping software. The Leaders also received training in their new GPS cameras which allow the Team to take pictures with locational data which can be entered into the database. This camera comes with software that enables the downloading of weigh points and tracks as well as locations of the pictures. All Team leaders got training in how to use this software to make data collection easy and more accurate.

Snared Leopard incident

As the Team Leaders made their way back to their posts following the 2 day training period Ithumba’s Team Leader got word of a leopard killing incident in the Community near the Tsavo-Muathe Gate area. This incident was reported to KWS Warden at Mutomo who happened to be at Voi at the time and together headed to the sight. From information gathered on the ground this leopard had been living close to the Community and had been getting braver about coming close to their livestock. A woman living nearby set a snare targeting the leopard near their goats’ pen. The leopard got trapped in the snare after killing one of the goats at night and began making loud noises in distress.

The villagers all assembled to attack the trapped animal and shot the leopard with poison arrows. Following this they all clobbered it to death using wooden bats and machetes.
The lady responsible for snaring the animal did not report this incident to KWS or the area Chief. The Team removed the leopards’ skin and burned the carcass as the villager wanted to eat the meat. The woman responsible for this was arrested and booked at Mutomo Police Station.

Community Outreach

On the 24th of January the Team paid a visit to Kakindu Primary School to arrange a date with the Head Teacher for a desk donation. The following day the Team visited the Kivuti Primary School to discuss a date to hand over another 30 desks to their school. Both head teachers were deeply grateful and accommodating.

Desk Donation at Kivuti Primary School

On the 27th the Team went to Kivuti Primary School to donate 3 desks. The Head Teacher had arranged a really wonderful acceptance speech and the parents as well as the children all attended and were very excited.

This school received a donation of text books from the Trust back in 2003 which greatly assisted in the schools exam performance. Since then the school set up a Wildlife Club that has been doing some really wonderful initiatives and activities over the years.

Desk Donation at Kakindu Primary School

On the 28th the Team donated 30 desks to Kakindu Primary School. This school has recently been a focus for the Teams community outreach work as it is located near Kimathenya Hill which is an entry point for poachers into the National Park from Mutha and Voo areas. The drop out rate in this school is very high; most students drop out after class four.

These drop out have a high potential of becoming poachers and hence to focus efforts in this school is very important.
The Team has been working closely with the area Chief to try to campaign to parents to keep their children in School. The Schools students, parents, and teachers were all very grateful for the desk donation and the Chief also attended and gave a speech to encourage support of the Trusts work.