Area of operation
During the month of July, patrols were done along the Tiva River, part of the Yatta, Mkoka, the Kasaala-Kimweli boundary stretch and Tsavo Safari Camp (Cottars) to Gazi.
Wambua Kikwatha – Team Leader Francis Itumo – Assistant Munywoki Kisangi - Tracker Odero Samuel - car guard 2 KWS Rangers - security Martin Wambua - cook
Mukoka, Kasaala – Kimweli boundary operation
Due to the high rate of snaring during this period, much of the time was dedicated to de-snaring patrols. A revisit of the areas patrolled in May/June was done. 156 snares were lifted from the same area. We lifted over 1000 snares during the last operation. The poachers are now aware of the de-snaring patrols and their imminent arrest if found in the Park. According to our informers, the seasonal snarers are likely to stop snaring, while the hard-core are shifting their poaching to other areas like the Yatta, or Cottars to Gazi areas. Already a poacher from Kasaala village was arrested near Cottars. Our presence all round will be a very frustrating move to the poachers.
Yatta, Gazi – Cottars operation
The Cottars to Gazi operation was successful despite some constraints, mainly the poor road condition. The road from Cottars to Gazi has not been graded for many years, necessitating road work along the way. We incorporated desnaring patrols, ambushes of hideouts and poacher tracks by the rangers, the use of observation points, and road clearing by casuals.
The Yatta and the Athi River stretch is a very crucial area for animals and thus attracts many poachers. Frequently used poacher tracks were found crossing from the communities and heading up the Yatta and downstream on the Athi. Poaching is very common downstream. Many animals were noticed about 12 kms from Cottars, with the population increasing upstream. Consequently, a high number of snares were lifted within this stretch, showing that poachers are now moving to where there are more animals. Contrary to the year 2000 de-snaring findings, poaching here is shifting from big animals to small animals, perhaps due to the scarcity of any significant numbers of large animals.
Towards Gazi, logging and honey hunting is common. Here many poacher tracks are in frequent use, but we found very few snares. This is a clear indication that poaching is done on top of the Yatta Plateau. A serious operation is necessary along the Yatta. The Gazi-Cottars operation yielded 1107 snares. A total of 1263 snares were lifted in July. Six poachers were arrested by our rangers, while eight escaped arrest.
During this month only three schools, namely Kimweli, Kasaala and Kivuti Primary were visited. Video shows and talks took place. A successful Textbook Presentation of books worth Ksh.130,000 was donated by Kerrigan Savage Waves Charitable Trust, through us to Kwa Kimweli Primary on the 4th July 2002. Seven trunks for storing the books, writing materials and some footballs were also part of the donation. The Head-teacher, on behalf of the Community, pointed out that the donation is a far reaching move that will enhance good academic performance as well as change the attitude of the Community towards Wildlife and the Park fraternity.
Report compiled by Wambua Kikwatha