De – Snaring Report for July 2006
2 KWS Rangers
During the course of this month the area covered were: Kanyululo, Macho kobo, Kiasa, the general area of Yatta, Umbi, Yimathoka, Powerline, Kanziko, Tundani, Lagga-kundu, and Kyamanyenze.
TOTAL SNARES COLLECTED 308
During the course of the month of July’s patrols we noticed an overall increase in illegal activities in Tsavo East National Park northern area. The first week the team was busy clearing roads from fallen trees at the Tundani- Tiva Rd and Shimo la Shetani- Tiva circuit.
These roads are very well used both by the team and visitors of whom there are many at this time of year. The road is going to be graded as the April rains left it in a poor condition and in desperate need of repair. The road behind the Ithumba Hills has been graded. The KWS Rangers who were grading this road came across a baby Dikdik which was brought to the Ithumba Stockades.
This Dikdik had suffered bad injury and unfortunately died.
The Team started its de-snaring operation at the Sheldricks blind, were we found a lot of footprints moving towards the Yatta. On top of the Yatta we lifted 162 snares and found 1 dead Dikdik at a poacher’s hideout.
Most of the poachers tracks where heading deep into the bush towards the airstrip. The poachers know that when they operate deep into the bush it will be harder to detect their activities. The poachers are changing their tactics by staying at their hideouts for short periods and are constantly on the move so that to avoid arrest. There are still waterholes with tree cover from which the poachers use to shoot animals coming to drink water from shooting platforms in the trees.
The team was informed by men at the Umbi Gate of serious poaching in the area. We moved in quickly to lay ambush at a poacher’s hideout and sadly had no success in arresting any poachers.We stayed in this area for 2 days and lifted 26 snares targeting big game, 3 Lesser Kudu skins and found a lot of dried bush meat.
We stayed at this poachers hideout for 2 days but he did not return for his meat and kill therefore we destroyed all of his belongings.
An informer alerted us of lamping at the Yimathoka along the newly cut fence line, it was reported that there was poaching activities along this fence line killing about 20 Dikdik per day.
The poachers use a torch and horn method to trap the wildlife. This technique seems to be growing popular in this area. This is proof that the poachers are feeling our pressure as they are moving to different areas and changing their techniques. We revisited the Yimathoka area on top of the Yatta Plateau to asses the situation. The team moved along the newly cut fence line and lifted 38 snares out of which 4 were targeting big game. We noticed a lot of signs of movements on the open grounds which indicated night poaching activities.
On our last day we revisited Umbi. There we found a snared female Lesser Kudu which was barely alive.
We managed to rescue her, although it took her some time to stagger to her feet after we removed the snare.
We lifted 8 snares targeting big game in the surrounding area.
During the month of July we visited several schools. First we visited Kasaala Secondary and Kisou Primary School and showed the students wildlife films.
The wildlife clubs of these 2 schools are finally beginning to understand the concept of wildlife conservation. On the last week of the month we visited Kaluluini Primary school and also showed a wildlife film.
The next school we visited was Mukua Nima Primary School were the David Shledrick Wildlife trust was scheduled to deliver a donation of desks for the children & teachers.
We have been working on supplying these desks since the 10th of July and employed local carpenters to make the desks for the school. The desks were given to the school on the 27th of July and where received very gratefully by the pupils, teachers and the parents.
The park boundary is soon to be fenced off in these regions to stop illegal activities in the park and also to try and minimize Human conflict with wildlife. Already a 10Km stretch of bush has been cleared in preparation of the fence line.
Report by Patrick Mutuku